On a recent Friday at work, we had ourselves a party. It was a party that is probably right up your alley. It was called Bake-toberfest and it was for charity.
For Bake-toberfest, the kitchen-saavy members of my company took to their ovens (and a couple to their cars and the grocery store) and produced some seriously delicious treats. I wish I had pictures of the tables. There were pies, cookies, cakes, bars, cupcakes, tarts and even a jell-o dish, lining over fifteen feet of table. The bakers had really outdone themselves.
You might be asking what we did with all of these treats? Were we baking and sharing just to pig out and drink all of the milk in the lunchroom fridge? No, it was all for charity. For a mere $5, you were allowed to come in the room and enjoy the buffet of sugar. For a scant $10, you could not only enjoy the treats at work, but you could bring as much home and you could carry. It was a brilliant idea, because once someone glanced over the table of treats, there was no way that $10 wasn't making its way into the till.
The Daring Baker's October 2011 challenge was Pivitica, 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 decided that it was the perfect item to bring in for Bake-toberfest. It was totally different from anything else on the table and quickly disappeared. Even a coworker who tried to stay away from the buffet, couldn't help herself from trying a piece. When I asked her why, she responded "We have this at home, it's a treat we eat during the holidays!" My coworker is originally from Romania, and was very happy with this recipe. She suggests you eat the end pieces, because they are the best!
In the end, Bake-toberfest was able to raise almost $800! Quite the feat for a table full of goodies.
I really enjoyed making this bread. It actually took less time that I was expecting! From beginning to end, it probably took about 4 hours (including the rise time). The stretching, filling and rolling up took the least amount of time! Don't be scared of this recipe, it's definitely worth the time. I would also reccommend to use some of the leftover slices to make French toast (East Europe meets West Europe!)
For Yeast to grow...
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp warm water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
For the Dough...
1/2 cup skim milk
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
For the filling...
1 3/4 cup walnuts, measure first, then grind in a food processor
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the glaze...
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
Growing the yeast...
In a small bowl, mix together the yeast ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. Check to see if your mixture is bubbly, that means your yeast is alive!!!
Making the dough...
In a small saucepan, heat milk to 180 F, remove from the heat and allow to cool to 110 F. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar and salt until dissolved. Add egg, yeast mixture, melted butter and 1/2 cup flour. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook, or knead by hand, and knead for about 5 minutes.
Coat a bowl with cooking spray and add dough, roll the dough around to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour to 1.5 hours.
Making the filling...
Just before the dough is doubled, grind the walnuts in a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
Bringing it all together...
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Take a clean sheet (yes, a bed sheet) and spread it over your work surface. Lightly coat the sheet with some flour, don't go crazy, just a little flour. Add bread and roll out to a circle, about 10x12-inches.
Pour 1/2 tbsp of melted butter onto the dough. Using the backs of your hands, stretch the dough out until it's super thin. You want to be able to see through it, it's so thin! Try to make it a rectangular shape.
Once it's thin enough, add the prepared topping and spread out to cover the entire dough sheet. Now, roll up the dough. I used the sheet to help. Gently lift up the sheet and the dough should start to roll onto itself. Try to lift evenly across the length of the dough.
Once the dough is rolled, place it in the loaf pan, forming a U shape (two ends will be dangling out of one end). Fold the two ends back onto the dough. Using a pastry brush, coat the loaf with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 15 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 F and continue baking for 30-45 minutes. After 30 minutes I had to cover the bread with foil because it was getting pretty brown already.
Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Pop out of the loaf pan and cut into delcious slices. MMMmmm, look at those swirls!