Recipes

Chocolate Spice Povitica

This sweet, snack-worthy loaf helped Colin win Star Baker on Bread Week.

This sweet, snack-worthy loaf helped Colin win Star Baker on Bread Week

Colin's take on this Eastern European favourite helped him with the Star Baker crown during Bread Week. (Geoff George)

The magic of povitica lies in the high ratio of filling to bread made possible by the ultra-thin layers of dough wrapping around one another for support. Using a tablecloth or large flour sack-style kitchen towel will make light work of rolling up the large thin dough. Don’t fret if the dough rips while rolling, just fold that part into the middle to keep the filling from baking out.

This gorgeous loaf helped Colin win the title of Star Baker on The Great Canadian Baking Show's Bread Week

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 2 ¼ cups (300 g) flour
  • 3 tbsp (40 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp (10 g) instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup whole milk, warmed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste

Filling:

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups walnut halves
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg white, beaten

Preparation

Dough: 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if stand mixer is unavailable). Make a well in the centre and add remaining ingredients. Stir together to form a ragged dough. Place the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8 minutes. (You can knead by hand until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes). Transfer dough to a large, well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Filling:

Melt ¼ cup butter with milk and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. 

Pulse the walnuts, sugar, cocoa powder, spices and salt until texture of a sandy powder in the bowl of a food processor. Add egg yolk with milk mixture and pulse to combine.  

Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. 

Lay a clean tablecloth on a large work surface. Dust lightly with flour. Transfer dough to prepared sheet and roll to a 20x12-inch rectangle. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and brush evenly over dough. 

Use your fingers to gently stretch the dough into a 40x24-inch rectangle; pinch it together if rips occur. Ensure that the dough doesn’t stick to the sheet by dusting the sheet with more flour if needed. Dollop dough with filling and spread it evenly to the edge with a spatula. Lift the tablecloth at one long end to roll the dough evenly to form a 40-inch log. 

Transfer the log to the prepared pan by laying it into the pan in a U shape and laying the final length of the log over and tucking the end into the centre of the U to seal. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 

Heat oven to 350F degrees. 

Brush the risen loaf with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300F degrees. Bake for an additional 50-60 minutes until loaf is deep golden. 

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan to slice. 

Yield: makes 8-10 servings (1 loaf)

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