Last week on Between You and Me and Realgoodwords we talked about bread with listeners.... you can see the bread recipes that were submitted here.
Kim Ode was our guest - she's a StarTribune reporter and wrote a book about her passion for bread called "Baking With the St. Paul Bread Club - Recipes, Tips & Stories". We talked about some of the family recipes that represent this place where we live. She suggested trying the recipe submitted by baker Pat Roberts who includes a recipe for Walnut Potica.* Kim says to NOT be put off by the length of this recipe, that it is totally worth it. She also suggests making it with someone else.
WALNUT POTICA from "Baking With the St. Paul Bread Club" by Kim Ode
makes 5-6 loaves
1 1/2 c lowfat milk
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 package active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
5 to 6 cups bread flour
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 1/2 c lowfat milk
2 c granulated sugar
1/2 scant cup honey
2 1/2 lbs English walnuts, about 10 cups
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
Heat milk to 120 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer, combine sugar and butter. Add milk, and mix until combined. Add yeast, salt, and beaten eggs, and mix. With mixer running, add flour, 1 cup at a time, but not more than 5 cups. Dough should be soft to moderatley firm, not stiff. If kneading with a dough hook, knead about 15 minutes, or, if by hand, 30 minutes, adding flour sparingly. Dough should be elastic and have air bubbles no larger than 1/4 inch. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat top, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours. Be patient; this dough doesn't like to be rushed.
Using a food processor and working in small batches, grind nuts until uniformly fine, being careful not to grind to a paste. Heat milk in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pan, preferably cast iron. Add butter until melted, and then add walnuts, sugar, and honey. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Don't let it scorch! Temper eggs by whisking in small amount of boiling mixture, and then add tempered eggs to nut mixture. Cook for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Don't let it scorch! Set aside until dough has risen.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take a large, clean piece of fabric - an old sheet or a tablecoth - and spread over a large table, making a smooth, unmoving surface. Flour generously. Take off any rings or bracelets. Place dough in middle of table, and using fingertips, pull dough from underneath, slowly stretching toward table edges. Take your time. If a hole appears, don't patch it. Keep pulling until the dough is as thin as onionskin. It will cover an area about five feet long by three feet wide.
Spread 1/2 c melted butter over dough. next, using a spatula, drop dollops of nut filling all over dough, and gently spread until entire surface is covered with a very thin coating. Cut off any thick edges of dough.
Remove tape, and holding on to cloth, lift one long edge, using it to roll dough inot a long cylinder. (Make sure it doesn't roll off the other side of the table.) Lay five or six greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans along roll for a guide, and then with the edge of a teacup saucer (a saucer seals the ends better than a knife can), cut dough into pan-sized lengths. Place each piece seam side down in a pan. Prick each piece four times with a fork.
Bake on middle rack of oven for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 325 degrees F, lightly cover loaves with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. When done, loaves should be medium to dark brown and loose when pan is lightly shaken. Do not underbake. Remove from pans, and cool on wire rack.
These freeze well if tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
*potica is pronounced po-teets-sah
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