The Fresh Loaf

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Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll)

Makowiec (pronounced "Ma-KOH-viets") isn't, strictly speaking, a holiday bread. But it is a classic Polish dessert or tea bread that is commonly served around the holidays. And it is delicious.

Almost all of the moisture in this dough comes from the sour cream, butter, and eggs. There is no primary fermentation: it is one rise and in the oven. This suprised me enough that I verified the recipe in 3 different Polish cookbooks. All of them used this same technique.

Makowiec (Strucle z Makiem)

Makes 2 large rolls

1 lb. poppy seeds
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup candied orange peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almods
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 egg whites

1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

To prepare the filling: Put poppy seeds in a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Strain the poppy seeds through a fine strainer.

Combine the poppy seeds, walnuts, and almonds in a blender or food processor and grind.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the poppy seed mixture and sugar to the skiller and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the egg, honey, orange peel, lemon peel, and raisins. Whip the egg whites until stiff and then folk into the poppy seed mixture. Let cool.

makowiec filling

To make the dough: Prime the yeast in the warm water. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Mix in the salt, and sugar, then mix in the yeast, eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon rind. Once the ingredients are mixed and can form a ball of dough, turn out onto a work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes (or use a stand mixer to knead for 5-8 minutes) until the dough is smooth and satiny.

To make the rolls: Divide the dough in two. Roll out each piece into a thin, roughly square shape.


Spread half of the filling onto each piece and then roll the dough up, sealing the seam and ends as tightly as you can.


Place each roll onto a baking sheet.


Cover with a damp towel or place the baking sheets into plastic garbage bags and set aside to rise for approximately 90 minutes.

Bake in an oven heated to 350 for 30-35 minutes, until the exterior is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes then glaze.



Related Recipe: Stollen.

Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll)


breadnerd's picture

Beautiful! And it looks tasty! The filling looks soo good.


I love making traditional breads like this for christmas, I'll have to try the stollen this year, as it's been a while.


Last year I made several buche de noels (buches des noel?) for the bakery I was working at, and this year I think I'll make one just for me! :)

pmccool's picture


Your Makowiec looks very similar to Povitica. The primary difference appears to be that the povitica dough is rolled extremely thin before being spread with filling and is then baked in loaf pans after being rolled up. My first encounter with povitica was here in Kansas City. There's a local bakery that specializes in povitica:

I enjoy both their poppyseed and walnut versions, which are the old traditional types. In looking at their website today, it appears that they have expanded their product line.


jkandell's picture

In addition to thinner dough, the other tendency with politica over Beigli is it tends to separate the eggs, and use he whites in the filing. Thy also tend to use a wetter dough and bake lng rolls of it in loaf pans. 

Ricardo's picture

Good try

I like this poppy seed roll and others stuffed with cherries and other berries are found all over Eastern Europe included The Balkan countries they take local names this one mak means poppy

Paddyscake's picture

of poppy seeds..WOW. Is there anywhere around here that I can purchase in bulk at a reasonable price? It looks very, very good.

Floydm's picture

If you have a Russian, Polish, or other Slavic market in your area, they usually have poppy seeds available by the pound. That is where I got them.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Floyd, have you found any Slavic markets locally in the lower mainland?



Floydm's picture

I haven't yet, but I haven't really looked yet either.  I'll let you know if I find anything.

We caught the Polish dance troupe at the Vancouver Christmas Market last weekend and heard quite a few Polish speakers, which is a good sign.



maxamilliankolbe's picture

Maybe you are already familiar with them, but Penzeys Spices sells poppy seeds for $6.80 a pound both online and in their stores. So far they are the most reasonable I have found. I'm not sure where you live, but they have 36 stores nationwide. Their website is I have been using their spices for several years (since I was a kid, really), and I loved them so much I decided to work their a few days a week! Their vanilla extract is superb, as well. A friend of mine is convinced that their cocoa powder is the best available (especially for the price!) since it does not clump when sifted like Hersheys and others tend to do.

I forgot to mention -- they will also grind them for you if you don't have a grinder or don't want to put up with the mess it can be.  I can't remember the exact price - you have to call them to find it out since it is not on their website, but I believe it is around $9.00 a pound.

Anyway, that's my plug. I love the place!

Paddyscake's picture

I like that they will grind them for you..I'm going to check it out. Thanks again!

leostrog's picture

it's a very  important - before purchasing to check s  poppyseeds  freshness.  Are the  haven't smell and taste of rancid fat. Poppyseeds fat quickly exposed to rancidification.

maggie664's picture

Am really curious about this recipe, but a bit hesitant to use such a large amount of poppy seeds. Has the filling got a gritty texture and what flavour do the poppy seeds contribute in that quantity? The loaf/log looks very tempting. Floydm, what did your chief taster think of it (what is his name)?

syso's picture

Floyd, what a beautiful poppy seed roll :-) I am Polish and must say it's one of my family's favourite cake. It's a traditional bake at Christmas so I'll be making mine soon. I would advise to first simmer the poppy seeds in milk, then put them on a sieve, let it stand for half an hour so it's not so moist and. I use a meat grinder with a special fine disc for that job. Enjoy your Makowiec!! :-))

Floydm's picture

There are plenty of places to order them online. Maxamillian Kolbe suggests Penzey's Spices, and I see many other sellers through Amazon.

Good luck!

Doeyo's picture

Dear Floyd,   Where are you getting your reference to Maxamilliam Kolbe from?   He is a deceased Catholic martyr who attained sainthood status.    I didn't know he was also a baker.    Or are you refering to another person by the exact same name?  Please and thanks,   Joey the Doeyo

Floydm's picture

I've been to Oświęcim and am familiar with the story of Maxamillian Kolbe, but if you look up the thread you'll see that there was a user here named maxamilliankolbe.


SylviaH's picture

I've had my champion juicer for over 30 yrs. and it still works great..never thought about grinding poppy seeds in it. 

A hotel I once worked in years ago made the best poppy seed braided roll I have ever had..everyone loved it...I wish I had the recipe.  I keep sayiing I will try to duplicate it one of these days!


Doeyo's picture

Then why are there posts, other than mine, that are dated 12-5-11?    J

SylviaH's picture

This brings back some memories!  Your poppy seed roll looks delicious. 


Przytulanka's picture

I made them for Christmas 2009

I used  and changed  a litlle the recipe from .

3 cups  white whole whet  flour

1 cup bread  flour

½ cup honey

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

½ cup cooked, mashed potato

1 cup sourdough starter

2 eggs, beaten


500 g poppy seeds (soaked for 12 h in hot water, drained and ground in blender)

500 g mix of dried fruit and nuts (cut)

1 tablespoon honey and butter

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

This reminds me so much of my childhood! My grandmother used to make this a lot. I am surprised how many of her recipes turned out to be of Polish/Jewish origin. She was of Serbian/German decent so I guess it would make sense. I grew up having things like this Poppy Seed Roll, Knedle Soup, Potato pancakes. All of which all this time I thought were Serbian/Croatian or German, but turned out to be more like Jewish origin.  Thanks for this blast from the past memory maker :)

Oh, and I was never a fan of this as a child but in my later teen years before she passed away, I learned to love it.  What I would do for a slice now.


jkandell's picture

I've been compiling recipes for this pastry (makowiec aka beigli, aka povitica) and there are a zillion different recipes. I've noticed the Polish versions use icing. The Hungarian versions tend to add sour cream (though yours does too).  BTW, you can grind the poppy seeds several tablespoons at a time with a spice grinder.  A non-traditional flavoring I found works well with this is orange water.

bakeriesnearme's picture

Although I was born in the United States, my family is of Polish origin and my grandmother prepared this dessert and it was exquisite... what beautiful memories of when I was a child!

I think I'll try to prepare it at home :)


Bakeries Near Me