Share recipe

Traditionally, Povitica is filled with walnuts and cinnamon, but for a little twist, I have swapped the walnuts for pistachios and ditched the cinnamon for chocolate.

Yet again, this week’s technical challenge was all about timing. Two and a half hours will go in the blink of an eye, especially considering the loaf itself takes an hour to bake. Richard made the mistake of following Nancy’s lead in this challenge, when a sly glance in Chetna’s direction may have seen him ranked higher in the leader board.

Hats off to Chetna for completing the challenge and presenting a fully baked loaf to the judges. Even though she had already made a version for her signature bake, it is no mean feat to prove enriched dough in the time allocated, as well as to shape and fully bake it.

The dough itself is not complicated to make and nor is the filling, but a lot of things can go wrong. Firstly, enriched dough takes longer to prove than ordinary bread dough, as the butter and eggs retard the yeast and slows down the rising time. Not all the bakers proved their dough for long enough, so remember that it needs to have doubled in size before you roll it out. Next, was the confusion with how thinly to roll it. Most of the bakers looked like they were attempting filo pastry. Yes, it needs to be rolled thinly, but there are limits. You are making a loaf, not ravioli.

The contestants also had issues with their filling, which should not be stiff enough to pipe, it should be easy enough to spread with a palette knife. Martha rolled her filling between two sheets of cling film like a sheet of pastry, which showed ingenuity but shouldn’t be necessary. If your filling has seized up, simply stir some warm milk into it until it becomes pliable enough to spread.

The rest is just a big roly-poly folded up in a tin. It’s a really fun bake to make and the hidden design inside (however it turns out in the end) will be sure to impress. This bake requires a gung-ho attitude, so don’t be scared! Get your pinny on and get baking!

For this recipe, use a 2lbs loaf tin.




For the starter

  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp plain flour
  • 7g of fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tbsp of warm water

For the dough

  • 125ml of whole milk
  • 25g of butter
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 300g of strong white bread flour

For the filling

For the glaze

Stir the starter ingredients together in a small bowl and cover the top with cling film. Leave for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy and has more than doubled in size
In the meantime, make the dough. Put the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the milk scalds. Pour the milk into a large bowl and stir in the butter until it has melted. Leave to cool slightly
Whisk the sugar, salt and egg yolk into milk before stirring in the starter and sifting over half of the flour. Roughly combine the ingredients with a fork, before sifting over half of the remaining flour. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky. You may need to add the remaining flour, but you may not. It will depend on the absorbency of the flour. This kneading will take a while, so be patient
Pop the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the top with cling film. Leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size
Knock back the dough and tip it on to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle – about 20-inches x 12-inches. The dough should be thin enough to see through. Make the filling by simply mix together all of the to make a thick paste. Spread the filling evenly over the dough and carefully roll it up (like you would a Swiss Roll) until you have a long sausage. Lift it carefully and let the weight of either end stretch it a little longer
Roll the dough out until you have a long sausage
Butter a 2 lb loaf tin and place the dough (with the join underneath), in a “U” shape in the tin, with a tail of dough hanging out of the tin on either side. Coil the tails of dough in on themselves, tucking the ends in
Coil the tails of dough in on themselves, tucking the ends in
Make the glaze by mixing the melted butter and coffee together. Paint the top of your loaf with the butter mixture and sprinkle over the sugar. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for another hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/Gas mark 4
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (130°C fan)/Gas mark 2 and continue to bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until done. Leave the povitica to cool in its tin on top of a wire rack for half an hour before turning out to cool completely
Share recipe