Friday, October 28, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge: Apple Butter Povitica

Blog-checking lines: The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

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Whenever I bake, there is almost always a story behind it, whether it be a love for croissants or a best friend’s birthday or just baking because I want to eat. But today, there’s no reason and there’s no story. I made this Apple Butter Povitica for no reason other than to participate in the Daring Baker’s October Challenge. As I struggled to come up with a witty story or double meaning for this post, I realized that the Daring Baker’s challenge was a wholly valid reason to bake something.

I participated in the DB baking challenge last month and I have to say that I loved it. The challenge required me to step outside of the comfort level and actually try something new. Heck, I love croissants and I’ve devoted a lot of time to eating them. During the summer, I wanted to try to make croissants, but I just never got around to doing it. The DB challenge was just the kick I needed to get in the kitchen and actually attempt to make croissants.

As a young person, I’m not quite as knowledgeable about the world as I’d like to be someday in the future. For now, I see everything as a learning experience; from the classes that I take at school to the people I meet to the delicious desserts that I learn to bake through challenges like the DB challenge.

This month I made two loaves of povitica. Because I had never tried povitica before and I wasn’t sure if my family and I would like it, I halved the recipe and made two loaves instead of four. Oh, how I wish I went with four. The two loaves disappeared almost as soon as I had finished snapping pictures. The bread was light and tender and the apple butter added the correct amount of sweetness. 

Maybe my loaves don't have that characteristically swirly look of traditional povitica loaves, but hey, I'm still learning. 

Click below for the recipe.

Apple Butter Povitica

(Makes two loaves each 1.25 lbs/565 grams)

Povitica is traditionally contains a walnut filling, but because I’m allergic to walnuts, I opted to use apple butter.

To activate the Yeast:
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml/4 ½ gm) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/1½ gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml/7 gm/¼ oz/1 sachet) dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml/85 gm/3 oz) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm/1/3 oz) table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (60 ml/60 gm/½ stick/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour, measured first then sifted, divided
  • ¾ cup apple butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml/14 gm/½ oz) turbinado sugar


In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast with warm water and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. 

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl. 

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams). Place dough in 2 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size. 

Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly). Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter. 

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as thinly as possible. The dough should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath. Spoon filling evenly over dough until covered. Gently roll the dough like a jelly roll and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced. Repeat with remaining loaf, coiling the rope of dough in its own loaf pan. 

Brush the top of each loaf with the cream and then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 1 hour, until puffed up.  

Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C. Remove plastic wrap from dough and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done. Check the bread every 30 minutes and cover the bread with aluminum foil if it is overbrowning.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. The best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.

The Povitica will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature and for 2 weeks if refrigerated. The Povitica can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil.


  1. Those are some gorgeous loaves of bread! Its really dangerous to read food blogs before dinnertime as I'm absolutely starving now! :) Your bread turned out perfectly!!

  2. Fantastic job, Kyleen! Your povitica looks really good, I love the swirls!! I love your enthusiasm for learning new things - that is what life is all about!

  3. I love those bold swirls, I think your povitica looks great! The Daring Bakers is such a good way to try out new techniques - at first I was worried that I wouldn't be as good as everyone else, but the community is so welcoming that it makes it easy to succeed, right?


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