Povitica/Orahnjaca [Daring Bakers]

This month’s challenge was a fun one, especially considering that I’ve eaten this before. What the challenge (and apparently lots of Croatians) call povitica is called by my (Croatian) mother orahnjaca, from the word orah, meaning walnut. It’s a yeasted twisted sweet roulade with a layer of crushed walnuts. The change with this recipe from the dessert I grew up eating, is that the layers of dough and walnut filling were very, very thin, so much so that the roll was doubled-up on itself and lined the loaf pan 4 times.

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!

I made 3 changes to the Daring Baker recipe that Redfilly01 shared:

  • I replaced the cocoa in the filling with rum
  • I used whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour
  • I used an egg wash instead of sweetened, strong coffee on the top

The result? Surprisingly good. I loved seeing 4 mini swirls in the sliced cake instead of just one. The whole-wheat flour didn’t make the cake heavy, fortunately, although in an ideal world, I probably would have added a lot more butter or something like it to enrich the flavor. I would probably also cut back on the rum a bit and add more in the way of spices, like maybe cloves or nutmeg.

This wasn’t the cheapest challenge (I estimate I spent about $30 on ingredients) although I did end up with 4 good-sized loaves, and these things do sell for $27 apiece online. One went into the freezer for when our whole family gets together for the holiday (yep, they apparently freeze OK for 3-6 months), another was shared at the house for homeless young adults where I volunteer, another was taken to work, and the final one was partially eaten at home and partially frozen for a rainy day.

One snafu: I didn’t want the top to get too dark, so I put foil on the top for the first 30 minutes or so. The dough, very, very thin, stuck to the foil, so I had to tear it off. The effect was that the tops of the loaves looked like they were eviscerated by some beast living in my oven, the walnut filling layer exposed beneath. It ended up creating an intriguing, almost streusel-like effect, so I’m not regretting my mistake too much.

Cutting it in half, you can see the 4 swirls that fused together to make the loaf. A few more pics after the jump…

3 of the loaves, with a beautiful color except for where the dough was torn off where it adhered to the aluminum foil.

Love the 4 distinct swirls inside.

Testing a link here.

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  1. Great job! The “struesel effect” did turn out pretty neat, its always good when an accident works in our favor! Glad you went ahead and made a whole wheat version of this! How did this compare to what you grew up eating?

    Comment by Jenni — October 27, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  2. Thanks, Jenni! The flavor was similar to the one I grew up with, although the 4-rolls-in-one shape was decidedly different (my mom just rolled it up into one big roll). I actually prefer the 4-roll approach, since it makes the bread not dominate as much.

    Comment by JM — October 27, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  3. Cool to see a whole wheat version, and you were definitely thinking outside the box with the rum in the filling. I’m a little jealous that you have extras in your freezer!

    Comment by Korena — October 27, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  4. Great job! Your swirls are so evenly placed and it is a lovely colour! 😀

    Comment by Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella — October 27, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

  5. You achieved such perfect swirls! Great idea to use whole wheat.

    Comment by Jeanne — October 27, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  6. Love the swirls! Nice job on the challenge!

    Comment by Kim — October 28, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  7. Great effort. The swirl effect has been very successful. Will have to give these a try.

    Comment by Hotly Spiced — October 29, 2011 @ 3:28 am

  8. so beautiful and amaizing job!! I love your povitica!

    Comment by kouky — October 29, 2011 @ 5:00 am

  9. RUM! Why didn’t I think of adding booze? I must have been having an off month 😉 They look just great, oven monster or no oven monster.

    Comment by Carol Anne — November 2, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

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