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Festive Potica Recipe | Breads

Festive Potica Recipe

In the days before Christmas, FamilyFun contributor Carla Snyder and her daughter, Jessica, roll up their sleeves - and some walnut filling - to make potica (po-teet-sah), a traditional Eastern European holiday bread. Their recipe honors two special bakers in the family by combining Grandma Gray's dough with Grandma Re's filing, and makes enough sweet, nutty bread to share with friends and neighbors.

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packages (7 grams each) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 7 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

FILLING

  • 2 pounds walnuts, finely ground
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk

EGG WASH

  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Scald the milk in the microwave by heating it almost to a boil (about 1 to 2 minutes), then let it cool until it is lukewarm (this helps the dough rise).
  2. Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the lukewarm milk.
  3. In a large bowl beat the softened butter, the sugar, and the salt with an electric mixer on medium until it's light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat to combine them. Add one third of the yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour, and beat until combined. Repeat twice. Scrape the beaters clean. Add 1 1/3 cups of flour and 1/3 cup of the lukewarm milk and mix well by hand with a wooden spoon. Repeat twice with the remaining flour and milk.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it's elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  5. To make the filling: While the dough is rising, combine all of the filling ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture boil or the bottom scorch. Then transfer the filling to a large bowl, where it will thicken further as it cools.
  6. Assemble the loaves: Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into five equal parts.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a roughly 12-inch square (keep the other pieces covered with plastic wrap until you?re ready to use them). The dough will be thin and very supple. Spread one fifth of the filling (about 1 1/3 cups) over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin along the edges. Starting from one side, tightly roll the dough into a log-shaped loaf, then pinch the ends closed and tuck them under.
  8. Lay the loaf seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you'll need two). Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, leaving 4 to 5 inches of space between each loaf on the baking sheets. Cover the loaves with a dry towel and let them rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake the loaves: While the loaves are rising, heat the oven to 350ยบ and place the racks in the lower-middle and upper-middle positions.
  10. Brush the loaves with the egg wash. Bake them for 30 minutes, rotate the pans, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. (If you can't bake all of them at once, keep the rest refrigerated.) Some of the loaves may split while baking. Cool the loaves on wire racks before cutting them. Makes five 12-inch loaves.

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