How to Make Povitica – Croatian Walnut Swirl Bread Recipe


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This week’s challenge for the Great British Bake Off Bakealong was a challenge all right – Povitica. Laura from Little House Big Alaska provided the recipe this week. It’s not necessarily a hard project, just one that takes a little bit of skill and a lot of patience. I will be the first to admit that mine did not come out as it should have. You will see in the photos that the four sections are not even – they should all be balanced between bread and walnut filling. Nonetheless I was glad I tried this recipe. If I do it again though, I will try another filling. The hubby and I were not big fans of the one here; it was just too walnut forward and the cocoa was a bit too bitter for our tastes.

Povitica, walnut swirl bread


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Povitica – Croatian Walnut Swirl Bread

Makes one loaf


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoon vanilla

Walnut Filling

  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/4 cups walnut halves
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk save the white!

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 egg white
  • cup powdered sugar

Povitica instructions

ingredients for povitica in bowl

  • put flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
  • warm the butter and milk together, do not boil, just warm until the butter melts
  • once the butter has melted cool until lukewarm
  • then pour the butter and milk in the flour mix, add the egg, and the vanilla, and mix
  • once ingredients have formed a dough let it continue mixing for 5-8 minutes or until smooth
  • place in a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size

walnut filling

make filling for povitica

  • warm the milk and butter together until the butter is melted
  • meanwhile pulse the walnuts, sugar, and cocoa powder together in a food processor until finely chopped
  • when the butter has melted cool until room temperature or so, then add it, the egg yolk and vanilla to the food processor and pulse until completely combined

rolling and filling the bread

  • once the dough has doubled in size cover your dining table with a clean sheet, OR wash it down thoroughly, and dust either down with flour

roll out dough for Povitica, walnut swirl bread

  • roll the dough out to a rectangle 12X20 inches, brush with melted butter and continue rolling and/or stretching with the backs of your hands underneath the dough until its 24X40 inches

add walnut filling to Povitica, walnut swirl bread

  • spread the filling evenly across the dough, if your filling feels thickened up add an extra TBSP of milk and blend again (I read a tip in the GBBO Bakalong forum about how to best add the filling. It said to add drops of it then cover with parchment or wax paper and carefully roll the filling out. Others tried with an offset spatula. I tried both ways and found them each lacking. The dough is very thin at this point and the filling is very thick. I did try adding the extra milk but it was still very thick. As you will see in the next photo I never did get the filling “spread evenly.” I respect anyone that did.

roll up povitica dough

  • once it’s covered roll from the long side into a log and trim the ends

place rolled povitica in pan

  • butter an 8-inch loaf pan, lay the dough in the pan in a U shape, then repeat over top looping it into another U. (I did end up with a few small tears at this point so after I trimmed the ends I used some of the excess dough to make a couple of small patches.
  • cover loosely and let rise for 1 hour OR until almost doubled in size, it will be working filling in all the gaps so don’t expect a MASSIVE rise out of it
  • brush with egg white and bake at 350? for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 300? and bake another 45 minutes, if the top starts to darken cover loosely with foil
  • once it’s baked cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes
  • then take it out and cool completely
  • if you like icing, mix the powdered sugar with a few drops of water and drizzle it over the cooled bread (I chose not to ice mine.)

How Was the Povitica?

As I mentioned above, the hubby and I were not in love with this bread. It could be because the walnut filling was so very concentrated in the bottom areas. But we also didn’t particularly like the top pieces where it was less prevalent. I wrote somewhere else – not every thing is for everybody. This was just not for us.

Povitica, walnut swirl bread

That does not mean I am unhappy for having tried it. The dough was a beautiful dough and as much as I am complaining about the bake now I am thinking about what I would do differently so maybe my brain knows me better than I think I know me. WHA?

I will also note that it did taste a little bit better on the second day.

Comments? Questions? Leave them HERE

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