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Old 11-24-2015, 07:56 PM   #1
IrishLass
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Default Potica

Lookie what I made yesterday!

Four mini-loaves just baked:


and here's one of them sliced:


This is my second attempt at making Potica. The first time (last year), I made a single 10 x 5 loaf and it actually came out great considering I was flying by the seat of my pants, but yesterday, I wanted to see if I could divide my total dough and filling up into 4 equal portions in order to make 4 mini-loaves (and also for ease of rolling/stretching out)...... and it worked like a peach! I'm so incredibly happy at how they turned out that I could jump for joy!

The recipe I've been using is my tweaked version of the one that was handed down to me from my hubby's family. Potica was a huge tradition in their family, but ever since hubby's great aunt passed away (the last of the really great potica makers in his family), no one has gotten serious about taking up the baton......and after looking at how huge the original recipe is, I can see why. The recipe makes a ton of loaves. I don't even own a table big enough to be able to accommodate the amount of dough that needs to be stretched out for this thing. And when I was given the recipe last year, I was told that it couldn't be reduced...several had tried in the past, but had failed.

Never one to back away from a bread baking challenge, I set out to prove them wrong....and I actually did! Validation came when hubby's mom tried some of my single 10 x 5 loaf last year and said it was just like she remembered, only she felt that the the dough needed to be rolled out just a tad bit thinner. Which is kinda funny, because hubby remembers it differently- he said that he felt that the dough needed to be rolled out just a tad bit thicker. Go figure! LOL

Anyway, here is my tweaked version of the family recipe. This will make one 10" x 5" loaf or four (5.5" x 3") mini-loaves. By the way- I weighed out all my ingredients in grams:

Dough Ingredients:

-360g King Arthur AP flour (3 cups)
-120g full-fat sour cream (1/2 cup)
-96g white sugar (1/2 cup)
-1 large egg + 1 yolk (weighed 69g, for what it's worth), save the white for brushing loaves later before baking.
-64g spring water (1/3 c.)
-56g salted butter (1/4 cup), melted and cooled to lukewarm
-7g active dry yeast (i.e., 1 package or 2 tsp.)
-4g salt (3/4 tsp.)

Filling Ingredients:

-227g/8 oz. weight finely ground walnuts (weighed after grinding)
-114g heavy cream (1/2 cup) [have extra on hand in case the filling is too thick]
-96g white caster sugar (1/2 cup) (..or regular sugar. I use caster because it dissolves quicker)
-85g raw honey (1/4 cup)
-113g/4oz weight ground raisins (weighed after grinding)
-2 large eggs, separated
-6g vanilla extract (1 tsp.)
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

* Just a quick note about the large eggs that I use. For what it's worth, the average weight of each is 48g on my scale, with the weight of a single yolk being 16g and the average weight of a single white being 32g. *

**A note regarding how I grind my walnuts: I like the texture of the walnuts to be so fine that they are as soft and fluffy as goose down, because it helps to not have chunks of nuts when spreading the filling on the stretched-out-as-thin-as-paper dough (to prevent tearing it). In order for me to do that, I use either my Pampered Chef rotary grinder with the fine blade, or my Pampered Chef micro-planer with the fine blade and accompanying finger protector. I truly don't mean to sound like an advertisement for Pampered Chef or anything, but that's what I happen to have in my house and that's what works incredibly awesome for giving my walnuts the proper texture described above. If you have anything similar, please use it by all means. Such tools work great at grinding walnuts to a really fine texture.

***A note about how I grind my raisins. The best and easiest way I've found to grind them to the right texture that I like for this is to put them through a meat grinder. I happen to have a meat grinding attachment for my stand mixer, which works wonderful, but last year, I didn't have the attachment, and so I basically chopped the beegeebees out of my raisins by hand with a knife....which worked, but was a little annoying because of how much extra time it took, and also because of how sticky raisins are......which is why I bought the grinder attachment.....well, that, and it also came with a cookie press accessory. I've yet to actually use it for grinding meat. lol

Directions to follow in the next post......


IrishLass


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Old 11-24-2015, 08:33 PM   #2
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Prep For Dough (I do the following the day before): 1) Weigh, then sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Add yeast, salt sugar to it, then whisk to combine. Cover and set aside on counter. 2) Weigh sour cream in prep bowl, cover, set aside in fridge. 3) Beat the egg and yolk for the dough in a prep bowl, cover and set aside in fridge. 4) Set leftover egg white in a small bowl in the fridge for later. 5) Weigh butter in prep bowl and set aside on counter. 6) Weigh water in prep bowl. Set aside on counter.

Prep For Filling (I also do the day before): A) Grind the walnuts and set aside covered in fridge. B) Soak raisins in hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes, drain, then mince in a meat grinder with 4.5 mm blade (or chop very fine with a knife). Cover and set aside in fridge.

Baking Day Prep: 1) Remove all the set-aside ingredients from fridge to bring to room temperature. 2) Remove the 2 eggs for the filling from fridge to come to room temp. 3) Prepare work surface. When making the bigger 10 x 5 loaf, I drape a clean bed-sheet over my card table and secure it taught in place at each corner leg with cooking twine. Then I sprinkle it lightly with flour......when I made the mini-loafs yesterday, I just used my naked (no cloth) marble pastry slab instead, lightly floured. It actually worked great, and it was just the right size for the job, too (16" x 20").

Dough Ingredient Instructions: A) Melt the butter and cool to lukewarm. B) Whisk all the liquid ingredients for the dough together in a bowl (including the melted butter), then pour them into the flour mixture and stir to fully combine with a Danish dough whisk or large spoon. C) Dough will be too sticky to knead by hand without being tempted to add too much flour, so machine-knead the dough for about 12 minutes or until it pulls away nicely from the bowl. It will be soft and floppy when handled. D) As best you can, form dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double (about 1.5 to 2 hours). As dough is rising, prep the filling:

For The Filling: 1) Separate the 2 now room temp. eggs, placing the whites in a small mixing bowl, and placing the yolks in a small prep bowl, covered and set aside on counter. 2) Beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form (should take about 3 minutes or so), set aside; 3) Whisk the egg yolks and set aside; 4) Combine the cream, caster sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pot and heat & stir just until smooth and cohesive, then remove from heat and transfer into a large mixing bowl. 5) Whisk in the cinnamon, cardamom and ground raisins. 6) Stir in the finely ground walnuts 7) If/When cooled down enough, add the beaten egg yolks; 8 ) Lastly, fold in the beaten egg whites. The mixture should be thick, but easily spreadable- somewhat like thick, pourable cupcake batter. If its too stiff, it may tear the dough, so add more cream to it until its just right. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, back to the dough: A) If making a 10 x 5 loaf: When dough has doubled, gently deflate it, place it on the floured sheet, and roll out to 21 wide. Then roll it lengthwise with your pin, and also stretch it out with your fingertips placed underneath the middle of the dough, working outwards towards the edges to as long as you are able to lengthwise (without tearing it) in order to end up with a paper-thin thickness. It should be so thin/transparent that you can see the printed words on a page or recipe card through it. If the dough fights back at any time as you are rolling/stretching it, lightly cover with plastic wrap, walk away for about 10 minutes so that it can rest, and then resume. You may have to do this more than once. Just remember to keep the width of the dough at 21. The length can be as long as you need it to be. B) When the dough is thin/transparent enough to see printed words through it, its time to spread on the filling. Using a spoon, strategically place dollops of the filling all over the surface of dough. This will help you to be able to spread the filling out more easily and evenly. C) Using a cake/frosting spreader (which I've found to work the best for this task), gently and evenly spread the filling out to within 1/2 of the edges. D) Now its time to roll the dough up. We will be rolling up each of the short 21 ends towards the center of the dough so that the 2 rolled-up coils meet each other halfway. To begin, untie all the twine holding the sheet in place. E) Starting at one of the 21 ends, lift the sheet up on that side to aid you in rolling up the dough towards the center, pricking the dough intermittently along the length of the coil with a chopstick as you roll (to discourage air pockets). Once you reach the center, stop, then do the same to the other 21 end. F) Once the 2 coils have met in the middle, pinch either of the open ends of the coils to seal, then fold up each of the coiled ends toward each other at the center so that they slightly overlap each other to form a 10 log. G) Pinch any open ends sealed, then gently flip the dough over and place into a greased 10 x 5 bread pan to proof, lightly covered, for 1 hour. H) Preheat the oven to 350F while the bread is proofing.

Bake: 1) Once proofed, brush the top of the loaf with the set-aside egg white (beaten) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325F, tenting the loaf with foil if need be in order to prevent the top from burning, and cook another 30 minutes. The tops should be nicely brown when done, but not burnt. If the coloring is too light, you can always bake it for a few more minutes un-tented until it has developed a richer color. 2) When nicely brown, remove pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack (dont remove it from the pan yet). 3) Brush the top of the loaf with butter, and then let the loaf completely cool inside the pan. Whatever you do, do not remove the bread from the pan until it has completely cooled, because the bread will fall apart under its own weight when still warm from the oven (ask me how I know!) 4) Once completely cool, remove from the pan and enjoy. 5) The bread freezes nicely and can be frozen for months. Just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then tightly wrap over that with foil before putting in the freezer.

Instructions of mini-loaves to follow in next post.....


IrishLass


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Old 11-24-2015, 08:46 PM   #3
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Optional- To make mini-loaves: 1) When the dough has doubled after being kneaded, divide it and also the filling up into equal 4ths by weight. For what it's worth, my mini bread pans are tapered with 5 1/2 in length on top, and 4 3/4 in length on the bottom. That means that the dough for each mini-loaf can be rolled out to about 10 wide and however much as long as they end up being in order to make a thin enough, see-through dough.. 2) I worked with one portion of dough at a time while the other portions waited inside in the fridge (wrapped in plastic) until their turn. 3) I rolled each one out in turn on my lightly-floured marble slab (worked great!) and proceeded in the same manner as I do for the big loaf. 4) When done filling/rolling each mini-loaf in turn, they were placed into their greased mini-pans, covered lightly with plastic wrap, and then marked with the specific time that they were each placed in their pan. 5) Then they were set aside on the counter so that each could proof 1 hour from the time they were placed in their pans (wrote the individual times down to keep track of the specific time for each loaf). 6) When each was done proofing according to their individual time, they were brushed with beaten egg white and then took their turns baking @ 350F for 40 minutes, by which time their tops became nicely browned. I did not turn the temp down. I just kept it at 350F the whole time, but tented if things looked like they were getting too brown. From the looks of things, it turns out that 350F for 40 minutes was perfect for these mini-loaves. It took awhile for me to bake these because I had to stagger the baking time of each loaf according to when they were placed in their pans, but all went very well! 7) As with the bigger loaf, make sure to cool the mini-loaves completely in their pans before removing.

I'll see about posting some of the pics I took last night while making the Potica so you can get an idea of what the process looks like.


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Old 11-24-2015, 08:57 PM   #4
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Wow, wow and wow. That looks amazing. I wish I could try some!!
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:00 PM   #5
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OMG..... Drool
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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Holy cow!! That looks and sounds delish!
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:09 PM   #7
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Oh. I think there's a wonderful aroma wafting out of my computer screen. At least my mouth is watering. Yum....!!!!
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:42 PM   #8
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Yummie, never heard of it.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:47 PM   #9
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YUM! and THANK YOU for sharing! I love baking bread. I'd never heard of Potica before. It looks delicious and so beautiful!
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relle View Post
Yummie, never heard of it.
You're not alone. Until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of it either. lol As a matter of fact, I don't think I would ever have heard about it if it wasn't for a family get-together where hubby's relatives were talking about how much they missed having Potica at Christmas, and that's when I learned all about it. I went home and Googled it, and it turns out it's a really big thing amongst certain cultures, much like pierogis and galumpkis are to the Polish side of my family.

I'm just so happy to be able to do this for them......and that I can accomplish it on a much smaller scale. lol


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