In the late 1800's, a lot of immigrants from Slovenia and Croatia came to this part of the world to work in the mines. They brought some of their food influences too. A local restaurant/bakery makes potica (pronounced Po-TEET-Sah), which is a Slovenian sweet bread with filling. The most common filling is ground walnuts, and like many foods, each family has their own recipe. This bread has been on my bake list for a few months now. I have a friend from Slovenia, and recently, her mother was gracious enough to share their family recipe with me. Hope I did it justice! It's a wonderful recipe that introduced some baking elements I haven't used much and this one challenged me a bit. When I first tasted it, my first thought was that it needed cinnamon. But the more I ate, the simple flavor grew on me and I think something like cinnamon would take away from the walnut. Next time, I think I'd add either a small preferment or less yeast and a longer ferment to develop a little more dough flavor. Overall, a very fun bake!
The first challenge: holy butter! I'm sure there are breads that use more than this but I was really doubting that she had copied the recipe correctly when I was looking through the ingredients. 38% butter was well beyond anything I've tried. Combined with that EIGHT egg yolks. Thought there was no way this would come together with only AP flour, but I was wrong. In the end, the dough came together nicely. I don't think I kneaded it quite enough early on and the dough was a little fragile when rolling, but it rose really well and ended up giving a nice open crumb. Maybe thanks to the 4% active dry yeast! :-) On top of that, it also had 50% scalded whole milk, which is one of my favorite parts of making an enriched dough. For some reason, I just like the smell of scalded milk and think it adds nice flavor to a dough.
The second challenge... I didn't have a pan the size the recipe called for, so I had to estimate how much dough was needed for my 8.5" x 4.5" pans. The remaining dough I formed into buns. I overestimated a bit and should have made a couple more buns. My pans were overflowing! :-)
The third challenge... Instead of adding the egg whites to the walnuts incrementally, I added the walnuts to the egg whites. It was too much and made a very soupy filling. In hind sight, I should have ground some more walnuts. It did thicken up a bit as it sat, but never got to spreadable paste. It made forming the rolls and handling them a little tough. Kind of like a very limp noodle. :-)
Despite all that, very happy with the result for the first attempt!
Makes 3 loaves for a 8.5" x 4.5" bread pan. Alternatively, makes two loaves and approximately 5 buns.
300g Whole Milk, scalded at 180 deg F
24g Active Dry Yeast
Dry Dough Ingredients
600g All Purpose Flour (I used King Arthur's at 11.7% protein)
3g Sea Salt
Wet Dough Ingredients
225g Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
~144g Egg Yolk (8 large eggs)
4g Vanilla Extract (1 tsp)
500g Walnut, ground to meal
~260g Egg White (8 large eggs from above)
1) Scald milk by heating to 180 deg F and let cool on counter to room temp.
2) Cream butter and sugar until fluffy using paddle attachment in a stand mixer. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix and medium speed. The mixture took on a look and texture that reminded me of scrambled eggs. Wasn't expecting that!
3) Combine yeast mixture ingredients and let proof for 5-10 minutes
4) Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
5) When the yeast mixture is proofed, add the butter/yolk mixture to the yeast mixture and stir to mix. Pour the combined mixture into the flour well.
6) Slowly stir in the flour. Continue stirring until all the flour is wetted. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
7) Perform 4 sets of bowl kneading with 10 minute rests between sets.
8) Place in a oiled bowl and let double in size.
9) While bulk is rising, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy and firm. Combine Filling sugar with walnuts and stir to combine. Slowly add egg whites and rum to the walnuts until a thin paste forms.
10) After dough doubles, punch it down and divide the dough into the desired number of loaves and buns. For the buns, use about 110g of dough weight.
11) Roll dough out about 16" long and wide enough for dough to be 1-2 mm thick.
12) Divide filling based on number of loaves and buns. When dough is rolled out, evenly spread the allocated filling on the dough and tightly roll into a log. For the buns, put the seem side down and then coil the log.
13) Cover the dough with a cloth and let proof in a warm area for at least 1 hour.
14) Preheat oven to 350 deg F
15) When dough is proofed, poke a bunch of small holes into the dough using a bamboo shish kabob skewer
16) Bake loaves for 1 hour and buns (on a sheet pan) for 25 minutes
"scrambled eggs" during mix