Make Potica Bread for the Holidays
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Based on the Slovenian recipe mentioned in “The Red Toque Love and Loss in the Time of Tito.” US measurements are thanks to King Arthur Flour.
You may get “The Red Toque Love and Loss in the Time of Tito” by Cynthia Herbert-Bruschi Adams at: Amazon.com/dp/1641847832
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato
4 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon rind, optional
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1. To make the dough: Place the butter, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Bring the milk to a simmer on the stove or in the microwave and pour over the ingredients. Stir briefly, then cool to lukewarm.
2. While the mixture is cooling, measure flour gently by spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.
3. When cooled, whisk in the eggs, yeast, and vanilla. Whisk about 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with the potato flakes and stir into the wet ingredients. Add the remaining flour, mixing to form a soft dough.
4. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until shiny and smooth. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 hour, then refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, and as long as overnight (Christmas Eve)
5. To make the filling: Put the nuts, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process in short bursts to grind the nuts.
6. With the food processor running, add the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the orange zest and pulse to incorporate.
7. To assemble: On a greased work surface, roll the dough into a 26" x 18" rectangle, with a long side facing you. Spread the filling evenly over the surface, leaving 1" of one long edge uncovered.
8. Roll the dough toward the uncovered edge, pinching to seal the seam and the ends to enclose the filling.
9. Grease two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans and line with parchment. Cut the rolled-up dough in half, will = two logs about 13" to 14" long.
10. Working 1 piece at a time, bring the ends of the log together to shape a ring, pinching and sealing the spot where they meet. Flatten the ring gently (it'll shape itself into a 6 1/2" to 7" oblong). Settle ring into bottom of pan with its two sides next to one another, & original long seam facing down. Press ring gently to spread it over the bottom and into the corners. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the second pan.
11. Cover the loaves and let them rise until puffy, up to 1 1/2 hours. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
12. Brush risen loaves with beaten egg & sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake the loaves for 50 to 55 minutes. Check after 20 minutes, tent with foil if necessary to keep them from over-browning. The breads are done when the centers read 190°F.
13. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans on a rack for 20 minutes before tipping out and returning to the rack to finish cooling.
14. Store bread, well wrapped, on the counter for up to three days; freeze for longer storage.