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Holiday Breads: How to Make Potica

| 12/20/2013 8:02:00 AM

Cut Loaf of Baked PoticaPotica (po-TEET-sah) is a light and delicate Slovakian holiday bread stuffed with a brown sugar and nut filling. Making this bread does require a little bit of multi-tasking, but my first try turned out perfectly. That means it’s pretty easy to get right!

If you aren’t from the Midwest, you may not be familiar with Potica. Growing up in the hinterlands of New England meant that I had never heard of it before, but it sounded intriguing.

If you are from the Midwest where it is more commonly known, Potica-making stories may scare you off. I read several recipes that described covering your dining room table with a clean sheet and plenty of flour, and then stretching the dough to cover the table. I don’t know about you, but my dining room is plenty messy without flour all over the carpet. Turns out, most of those recipes harkened back to the days when grandma made 6 loaves of bread at a time. I didn’t want 6 loaves, and I bet you don’t either. Two loaves worked great for me; one to eat now, and one to save for Christmas morning brunch, and the dining room table stayed just as it was with no flour in sight.

Traditionally, Potica filling is made with ground and chopped walnuts, however pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds would work well too. For this version, I used ground hazelnuts (or hazelnut meal) and chopped walnuts.

Since this sweet dough is soft, it works best when made using a stand mixer. But, if you don’t have a stand mixer a hand mixer will work just as well. Just remember to grease your hands before handling the dough so it doesn’t stick.

Making the Dough                          

1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
3 ½ - 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
¼ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form at the edges (this is called scalding the milk). Add butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.

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