Potica or Povitica: Walnut Pinwheel Bread Recipes
Hand-Rolled "Po-teet-sa" Bread
An old world Slovenian pastry, Potica (or Croatian 'Povitica') is made from a yeasty sweetbread dough spread out as thin and wide as the baker has the patience to roll. A layer of walnut filling is rolled up into the dough, which is then baked golden brown. Potica is delicious plain or buttered. It makes a lovely dish for brunch or holiday parties, and is always a welcome gift.
As a young girl, our family enjoyed my Oma's potica bread when we visited our grandparents in Sheboygan, WI. Though they had immigrated to the US from Germany, they were of Slovenian descent, and Oma's potica was delicious. Though her recipe was lost when she passed away, my father missed the bread and spoke of it whenever any similar bread was served. Several years ago, I decided to find a recipe and make the bread for him for Christmas.
An internet search yielded numerous recipes, two of which I have used and revised over the years to recreate the flavor and texture of the bread that I remember. I do not roll my bread dough quite as thin as is traditional, but the bread is still delicious! Here are two ways to make your own at home.
Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens via Recipe.com
- FOR DOUGH: 2 envelopes dry active yeast (or 6 tsp)
- 1/4 cup warm milk (between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup softened butter
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp salt
- FOR FILLING: 3 eggs
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup half-and-half
- 2 pounds ground walnuts
- 1. Proof yeast by mixing it into warm milk with 1 tsp of the sugar. The yeast should become thick and bubbly in a few minutes. If it does not look "alive," start over with fresh yeast. Stir in 3 TBSP flour.
- 2. In a separate bowl, beat butter with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar (minus the tsp that you already added.) When it is creamy, beat in egg yolks. Then add the yeast mixture and stir to incorporate.
- 3. Mix 3 cups of flour and salt in a large bowl. Alternately add half and half and butter mixture, beating them into the flour on low speed, a little at a time. Stir in 2 additional cups of flour to form a soft dough.
- 4. Spread the remaining flour on a tabletop of pastry mat, and turn the dough on the floured surface, kneading for about 15 minutes. The dough will become smooth and elastic. If the dough becomes sticky, add flour 1 TBSP at a time, until the texture is smooth.
- 5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or greased waxed paper. Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
- Walnut Filling:
- 1. Beat eggs, sugar and half-and-half in a bowl. Stir in walnuts and cover the bowl. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.
- 2. Meanwhile, punch down the risen dough. On a floured surface, divide the dough into three equal pieces. Cover two pieces with a towel. and roll the remaining piece of dough into a large rectangle (approximately 12" X 16.")
- 3. Spread 1/3 of the nut filling over the entire piece of dough, leaving a 1/2" border around the edges.
- 4. Roll up tightly from the short side. Place seam side down on a pan covered with baking parchment. Pinch the ends to seal in the filling, and tuck the ends underneath the loaf.
- 5. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling. Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
- 6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown. If using a thermometer, the internal temperature of the loaves should reach 180 degrees F. Transfer the loaves to cooling racks. Allow the loaves to cool before slicing. When completely cool, the loaves can be wrapped in foil and plastic wrap to freeze.
Tips for Rolling Out Dough
It can be difficult to roll the dough thin enough for this recipe. I have found that rolling the rectangle a few inches smaller than recommended in the recipe produces a loaf that is not as visually stunning as it would have been had I rolled the dough paper thin, but the taste is just as delicious.
In order to roll the dough very thin, the first step is to be sure that your dough is not sticky. Add flour, 1 TBSP at a time, to the dough if it is sticky. Add flour until the texture is smooth and elastic.
The second tip is to generously flour your rolling area and rolling pin. I highly recommend rolling dough out on a pastry cloth that has flour rubbed into every crevice. The flexibility of the cloth will aid the process of rolling the dough up into a loaf, and if it is floured well enough, the dough should release from it easily.
To prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, use a cloth rolling pin cover that has been generously floured. If dough begins to stick during the rolling process, rub more flour into the cloth.
Place parchment paper on your pans and the loaves will easily release from the pans after baking. Clean-up is easy. Simply throw the paper away, and you're done!
If you have used copious amounts of flour, it may be difficult to remove all of it from your pastry cloth and pin cover. The flour tends to turn into a glue-like substance, and if it is not completely removed, will harden and turn to little balls that stick to the fabric. To effectively wash a pastry cloth and pin cover, rinse them well in the sink. Then soak them in a bowl of water overnight. Rinse them a second time in the sink, and immediately wash them in your machine with hot water and a mild detergent that does not contain strong-smelling perfumes or dyes.
Amazon carries the items that you will need to roll out your dough. Super Saver shipping is FREE on qualified orders of $25 or more.
Potica - Recipe #2
Slovenian miners who settled the northern midwest brought this recipe to the United States. Though similar to Recipe #1, this version makes a smaller batch. The addition of honey to the ingredients list adds a slightly different flavor to the bread. The loaves are baked in loaf pans.
- FOR DOUGH: 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- FOR FILLING: 3.5 cups finely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 beaten egg
- 3 TBSP half-and-half
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1. Combine 1 cup of flour and the yeast in a bowl. Set aside. Heat 1/3 cup of half-and-half, 1/4 cup butter, 2 TBSP sugar and1/2 tsp salt in a saucepan until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the warm liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Add 2 eggs and beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Stir in 1 cup of the remaining flour using a wooden spoon.
- 2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough, adding an additional 1/2 cup of flour 1 TBSP at a time until a soft, elastic dough is achieved. Shape into a ball and place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the ball. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1.5 hours.)
- 3. While dough is rising, mix all of the remaining ingredients to make the filling. Cover and set aside.
- 4. When dough has risen, punch it down and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two bread loaf pans. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 15-inch square. Cover and let rest again for 10 minutes.
- 5. Roll the dough into a 30" X 20" rectangle, and cut in half to form two 30" X 10" sheets. Spread filling over the surface of both sheets, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
- 6. Roll each sheet into a loaf, starting from the short edge. Pinch the ends to seal, and tuck them underneath the bread. Place loaves into the bread pans, seam side down. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size.
- 7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 45 minutes, until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. If bread appears to be browning to much, cover lightly with foil.
- 8. Remove from pans and allow to cool on baking racks. Once completely cool, bread can be wrapped tightly in foil and plastic wrap for freezing.
A pastry cutter/scraper or wheel is handy for cutting your dough into rectangles. Additionally, a scraper aids in cleaning up the floured surface by allowing you to scrape excess flour before wiping the surface down.
The recipe calls for baking the loaves in greased loaf pans, but you could alternatively line the pans with parchment paper for easy release and cleanup. Amazon offers FREE Super Saver shipping on qualified orders of $25 or more.
Beloved Heritage Bread Recipes
Do you have a favorite bread recipe that has been passed down through your family? If so, please share it with us after voting. You can leave a link to your recipe in the comments section. If you leave a link, kindly link back to this lens from your webpage.
Do you have a recipe that has been passed down to you? What is your favorite family recipe?
Thicker bread layers taste just as delicious as thin layers!
More Potica Recipes
Here is another recipe that I have used and like a lot. My own Recipe #2 is an adaptation of the BHG recipe posted at Recipe.com.
Do you have a Potica bread or other nut bread recipe that you would like to share? Send us a message via Squidoo, and I will add a link to your recipe webpage. Kindly add a link back to this lens from your webpage.
- Walnut Potica - Recipe.com
Slovenian miners who settled in the upper midwest introduced this sweet yeast bread to American cuisine. The dough is rolled very thin to make many layers of nut filling.
I hope you enjoy these recipes, and I would love to hear from you.