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May 16, 2021

Potica (Povitica) - Central European Nut Roll

This potica, a Slovenian nut roll (or povitica in Croatia) is a traditional bread served for Easter, Christmas, and other celebrations such as weddings. 

Potica slices with swirled nut filling


Potica (pronounced po-TEE-sa) is made with a leavened sweet dough that is rolled out thinly and spread with a sweet or savory filling, and then rolled up and baked to create a delicious pastry. 

The most traditional filling includes ground walnuts, but you can get creative and fill it with anything you like. Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, our Bread Baking Babes host kitchen this month has also made it with blueberries and cream cheese, apple cinnamon, and with a poppyseed filling. 

Potica loaf cut in half to show the swirls

The dough for this bread is traditionally rolled and stretched out very thinly on a cloth covered work surface and then spread with the filling. 

I followed Kelly's recipe for the walnut filling, but substituted pecan meal for the ground walnuts, mostly because I had a one pound bag of pecan meal in my freezer... and I'm really trying to cut back on the amount of ingredients I have on hand. 

Plus, I love the flavor of pecans. 

How to assemble this potica:

First, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured cloth spread out onto a work surface. I used my linen couche that I usually use to cradle baguettes when they rise. It is already floured from making baguettes, so I didn't have to add any more flour. P.S. I keep the couche in the freezer so that it stays moth-free. 

Next, once your dough is rolled out thinly to about 25 inches by 18 inches, spread it with your prepared filling. While I didn't measure it by volume, the filling is probably somewhere between 2 to three cups. 

Dot the dough with the filling and then spread it with an offset spatula so that it evenly coats the dough. If you need to, feel free to use your hands too. 

Finally, beginning with the longer side, roll up the dough into a long log and then fold it into thirds, like an "S," place it in a loaf pan, let it rise, and then bake. 

Potica assembly steps

The dough for this potica is a dream to roll out. It's made with a soft wheat flour that is finely ground, called T45 in France. I combined some pastry flour and cake flour I had in my freezer with a few tablespoons of unbleached all purpose flour with the hope that the dough would be easy to roll out but still have enough structure to develop some gluten. 

Typically, pastry flour or cake flour is not recommended for using with bread due to the low protein of the wheat. I held my breath hoping that it would roll out without tearing. It worked beautifully. 

I would recommend using a combination of cake flour and all purpose flour to begin with. If your dough snaps back a bit, let it rest a bit and stretch it out again. 

Potica slices

For the filling, I used a combination of pecan meal, butter, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, egg yolk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. 

Because my pecans were already ground, I just stirred the ingredients together in a bowl before spreading them over the dough. 

If you begin with whole walnuts or pecans, just add the nuts, along with the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt to a food processor and process until finely ground before adding the liquid ingredients. 

Potica slices torn into sections

I really enjoyed making this bread! I may have to play with using the dough for other pastries. The combination of yeast and finely ground soft flour was so intriguing. 

I was also skeptical about rolling yeasted dough out onto a floured cloth. Because dough typically snaps back and is difficult to stretch, like with pizza, I was a little concerned. However, the minute I began rolling the dough, I realized I had nothing to worry about. It was amazing. 

Roll, flip, roll, flip, stretch. I felt like a pro. 

Tips for serving this potica:

This bread is wonderful with coffee or tea, or even as a dessert. 

Be sure to slice it fairly thickly or it will fall apart. Kelly suggests slicing it from the bottom so that the top doesn't shred. 

Don't tell anyone, but I enjoyed this bread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I'm pretty sure it's approved in Slovenia and Croatia. 

After the recipe, be sure to check out all of the Bread Baking Babes' takes on this bread. The Babes are always so creative. If you want to bake along, be sure to visit Kelly's post for instructions. 

Kelly adapted this recipe from Bake Street

Potica slices on a bread board

Potica Recipe

Potica Recipe
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
This potica, a Slovenian nut roll (or povitica in Croatia) is a traditional bread served for Easter, Christmas, and other celebrations such as weddings.


For the Dough
  • 227 grams (8 ounces) cake flour
  • 57 grams (2 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 120 grams (4 1/4 ounces) whole milk
  • 15 grams (1/5 ounce) water
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 grams salt
  • 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 22 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled. 
For the Filling
  • 280 grams walnuts or pecans
  • 95 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 grams ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 60 grams whole milk, room temperature
  • 58 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
To Brush the Dough
  • 25 grams unsalted butter, melted


To Make the Bread
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours and the yeast. Add the milk, water, egg, and salt.
  2. Mix the ingredients with the dough hook until combined and homogeneous. 
  3. Add the sugar in two additions, mixing in between until fully incorporated. Continue to knead the dough for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the butter in three additions until each is fully incorporated. Once the dough is smooth, knead on medium low for 12 to 15 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, soft, and elastic. 
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and let rise until doubled, 1 to 3 hours. 
  6. While the dough is rising, mix the filling ingredients. In the bowl of a food processor, process the nuts, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa powder. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  7. Add the milk, butter, vanilla, and egg yolk and stir until combined. Set aside.
  8. Once the dough has risen, lay a large cloth out over a work surface and sprinkle with flour or fine cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto the cloth.
  9. Pat the dough into a rectangle with your hands. Roll and stretch the dough out into a 25 inch by 18 inch rectangle. The dough will be very thin. 
  10. Drop the filling in spoonfuls over the dough and spread it out to an even layer with an offset spatula. 
  11. Starting with a long edge of the dough, roll it up tightly with your hands. Seal the the seam. 
  12. Shape the log into an "S" and place it into a 9 inch by 5 inch oiled loaf pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy, 1 to 3 hours. The dough should have risen at least one inch. 
  13. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter. Bake the bread for 15 minutes, and then lower the heat to 300 degrees F. Bake for 45 minutes more. Remove the loaf from the oven and brust with the rest of the melted butter. 
  14. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 20 minutes, and then depan and cool completely on a wire rack. You can dust with powdered sugar if you like. 

Nutrition Facts



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potiva, potivica
Slovenian, Croatian
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Created using The Recipes Generator

The Bread Baking Babes are:

A Messy Baker

Bread Experience

Judy's Gross Eats

Blog from OUR Kitchen

Feeding My Enthusiasms

My Kitchen in Half Cups

My Diverse Kitchen

Would you like to comment?

  1. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful loaf! I love pecans, and the color and contrast is just gorgeous with the white flour and pecan filling, wow. I definitely enjoyed my apple cinnamon povitica, warmed, with ice cream on top!

    1. I definitely need to try the apple cinnamon version!

  2. Your loaf is gorgeous! And come to think of it, I have some pecan meal. Now why didn't I think of that!

    1. I had a whole bag I received from Millican Pecan and thought this was the perfect way to use it.

  3. This looks amazing. Perfect for my coffee group.

  4. I bow down to you! Look at those perfectly formed swirls. Next time, I think I will have to follow your lead and use white flour so that there is a really nice contrast between the layers and the filling.

  5. Hi, Karen.

    A wonderful recipe. The photos are gorgeous! I come from Slovenia and I only discovered this povitica recipe this year. LoL However, in the title you've wrote potivica....isn't it povitica?

  6. As usual Karen your loaf is gorgeous! I love the V shape most of the slices have. Yes I really enjoyed this dough though I used pastry flour. Elizabeth is right the white flour makes a beautiful contrast. Pecans would be excellent. Certainly I will not mention you had it with ice cream 🍦.

  7. I love your filling, My b-i-l sent me a kilo of pecans last year from Hawaii.... I love them and they are really expensive here. Gorgeous bread!

  8. This is a lovely and amazing bread!

  9. Dear Karen,

    I consider myself a fairly experienced baker, but after making this loaf ( I am Hunarian, but never heard of it before) I have to say this is one of the best kolac recipes I have ever tasted! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe, feom now on, this is a family favorite!

  10. I've been following a recipe handed down from my Slovenian grandmother, and it comes out good, but the filling always seems too wet. I'm going to use the egg, and see how that works out. The layers in your breads are great!


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