Potica Recipe

As with all the age old trans-cultural, trans-national classics I’ve attempted here on joepastry.com, there is no way a single recipe can encompass the totality of potica/politics…gestalt, shall we say. Fillings vary, doughs vary, techniques vary. This one is more Slovenian (southeastern European) in its orientation, though I realize that even in this region interpretations vary (sorry to those who were hoping for a strudel-type potica (though I do have strudel dough on the site should you want to venture out on your own!). I offer this will all due pleasure and apologias.

The Dough

1 lb. (3 cups) all-purpose or bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1.75 ounces (1/4 cup) sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) whole milk, room temperature
2 ounces (1/2 stick) very soft butter

The Filling

1 lb. (4 cups) ground walnuts
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, melted
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
5.5 ounces (3/4 cup) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry bread or cake crumbs
2 eggs
3 ounces (generous 1/3 cup) heavy cream

Procedure

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a bleater (paddle) combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Stir on low to combine. Pour the milk into the bowl and turn the speed up to medium. Once a dough begins to come together switch to the dough hook and knead about three minutes, until a smooth dough is formed. Add the butter to mixer in two additions and knead until the butter is completely worked in. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rise about 90 minutes until about doubled.

Meanwhile rinse out the mixer bowl and fix the machine with the beater. Combine all the filling ingredients and stir to combine them thoroughly.

Spread a clean sheet across your dining room table. Roll out and/or stretch the risen dough until it’s roughly 2 1/2 feet by four feet in dimension. Spread the filling over and, using the sheet to help you, roll up the dough. Cut the roll into three pieces. Place them in lightly oiled loaf pans (or desired forms). Spritz the tops with water and allow them to rise about half an hour. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the loaves with egg wash and bake 45 minutes to an hour until the tops are a rich golden brown.

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23 Responses to Potica Recipe

  1. Susan says:

    Yeah…just roll or stretch that dough out to 3×5 feet. It’s written so simply, like it’s something one does routinely with pastry. I read many recipes written like this and just laughed and laughed…

    • joepastry says:

      Oh ye of little faith! ;)

      You know me…I shall demonstrate with copious photos.

      - Joe

    • Ted says:

      It reminds me of a comment a friend used to make about the similarity between science fiction stories and recipes: “You read to the end and think ‘Well, that’ll never happen.’”

  2. Tjasa says:

    Hey, as a Slovenian, I can tell you that you should be able to sin— no, make take double handedly place the rolled potica into a bundt pan.

    I tried once. I guess I’m one of those people that need assistance of 2 extra hands for that feat.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Tjasa!

      I was planning to discuss baking forms. The bundt seems like the one of the more challenging ones!

      I’m intimidated knowing there are some Slovenians watching.

      - Joe

  3. Bronwyn says:

    Bleater? Visions of small wooly animal being used to mix dough.

  4. Can’t wait for the photos….. trembling with fear already

  5. Frankly says:

    I am interested in this. I was always fascinated by the layers rolled into swirly patterns but I have never tried it myself. I am looking forward to the next few days.

  6. Johan says:

    First Kringle, I am half Scandinavian, and now Potica, half Windische…well Austrian…well lets just call it kinda Slovenian.

    Here’s my two Kronor…in my prevoius attempts at Potica I mulled through too many recipes to be considered mentaly sound. For the sake of sanity I finally went with a recipe by author Beatrice Ojakangas. It was a good choice. It may be the only Potica I’ve ever had but damned if its not good.

    To your credit, your recipes are similar. Like you, she chose a walnut filling, but she has you cook the filling on the stovetop first. Now a word of caution Joe….I have since been warned about speaking of Potica filling without raisins to a honest to goodness Slovenian.

    Now if we can just decide on the correct thickness for the dough perhaps we can avoid harm.

    P.S. – I have tried a kugelhopf mold. It showed promise.

    • joepastry says:

      Those are all good tip, Johan. I haven’t settled on a mold yet and honestly I’m a bit concerned about it. I’m thinking about a bunt pan, but I have yet to make up my mind!

      - Joe

  7. Maggie says:

    Oh, if only I had enough space to roll anything out to 3×5. When I do my potica, I divide the dough (by weight) and let it rise in separate bowls (my recipe makes 4 loaves), so I only have to roll the dough out to about 2×3 feet (the size of my little kitchen island). Also, my Busia always brushed her loaves with strong coffee with some sugar in it, instead of egg wash. But I may have to find a free weekend to try your version.

    • joepastry says:

      However the potica gets made, Maggie! One by one is a perfectly fine way to go!

      - Joe

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  9. Pam says:

    It was tradition to make potica with my Mom and Grandma. My sister and I have tried to carry on the tradition each year. In fact have a session planned for tomorrow morning.. Recipes vary within our own family, so I agree with Joe, “however the potica is made… One by one is perfectly fine!” We make ours in loaves of all sizes and give most away!

  10. Blair K says:

    I’m of half-Slovenian heritage (grew up in Cleveland, where else :-) and make it every year. My mother’s potica is so rich it’s like a cross between brioche and baklava! But our family recipe is a little easier, I think, for a few reasons: the yeast dough includes sour cream and rises overnight in the fridge; the walnut filling is a simple, uncooked layered affair with lots of honey; and the dough is divided into small, loaf-size portions before it rises. Ever taste tarragon potica? That’s an experience! Dober Tek!

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Blair!

      Great comment. Your mother’s potica sounds divine. And I have tasted tarragon potica, my high school girlfriend’s mother made it. Lots of Slovenians in Chicago too! ;)

      Merry Christmas!

      - Joe

  11. Rev. Ronald R. Hari says:

    Great recipe. I am Windish…Prek Murje region of Slovenia roots. This recipe is similar to my Aunt Theresa’s and I do make it. With practice the dough stretches like a strudel dough. In Bethlehem PA I am known as the strudel Pastor and bake strudel at the church every Thursday … at least 20 different flavors …stretching the dough over 50 years …keeps the church going …

    • joepastry says:

      Don’t be surprised when I show up one of these days, Pastor Ronald! What an inspired way to lead — and fund — a church!

      It’s a delight to meet you and hear that my recipe compares favorably with the real deal.

      Cheers and keep up the wonderful work,

      - Joe

  12. Pingback: Novice Potica Baker | skaealex

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