Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Great British Bake Along: Povitica

This was the last thing I was able to do as part of my bake along challenge before I really started to struggle with finding time to do it.  As I have said before, I do hope to be able to go back to the ones I missed/failed miserably at *cough*custard tart*cough*, however, it's dependent on time and the fact I am likely to be distracted with seasonal baking (I have so many pumpkin bakes in mind, it is a bit ridiculous).  I may be able to combine a few challenges with said seasonal baking but we shall see.  So without further ado, let's get on with this Bake Along (for the time being).

Week 8 on the GBBO was Advanced Dough, where the bakers were working with enriched dough.  That means there is a higher percentage of fats, eggs, milk and sugars in the dough, usually resulting in something much richer and sweeter than your average dough.  Deviating from my usual process of attempting the signature challenge, I decided to take on the technical challenge for the week: povitica.  I had never heard of it before the episode but when I saw it, I thought it just looked so cool.  I really wanted to try it as I thought it would be the most challenging.  I also thought it would also make a nice bake to take into work to share.  Sealing the deal was the fact that I had been given the book for the series for my birthday by my brothers, so I had Paul Hollywood's recipe all ready and waiting for me to try.  Obviously, having the full recipe means I did not have as much trouble with this as the bakers did.  That's not to say I did not encounter problems, but I wasn't having to guess anything.  I will admit though, I tampered with the recipe ever so slightly.  I changed out some of the walnuts in the filling recipe for hazelnuts.  I was hoping for a more Nutella like flavour.

I had two issues when making this recipe; one was minor and one was major.  The minor issue came from the fact that the recipe requires a stand mixer with a dough hook to do all the hard work of making the dough.  I do not own such a thing for I can not afford it and even if I could, I have no where that I could keep it.  My lovely yellow kitchen is, unfortunately, quite small and we already struggle to store things (which is actually a problem with our flat in general).  It makes me a bit sad when things rely on mixers in recipes.  It makes things difficult for those of us who still have to do things the old fashioned way!  So I kinda had to muddle through making the dough by hand.  I mixed with a spoon and then kneaded the dough myself for a long time until I got the texture I assumed I was aiming for.

The major issue was the stretching.  You have to stretch the dough by hand after rolling it out to double the size!  It is not an easy feat.  Initially I did not use a bed sheet and had clingfilm covering my partially opened table instead.  Disaster.  The table wasn't big enough and everything stuck to itself.  After I extended the table further I found I could not rotate my dough to fit without it falling to pieces.  So I had a brief strop, where I scrunched it up and threw it down on the table, then went and got a bed sheet and started over.  I was concerned I would somehow ruin the dough by doing this but it didn't seem to have an adverse effect.  The sheet does make things easier but I still struggled with the stretching.  The blasted thing just kept tearing, a massive hole formed in the middle and I was unable to get it to the desired size.  So in the end I got it as big as I could, patched the hole and just went with what I had.  When writing up the recipe, I realised I had been using my hands the wrong way up, so that probably contributed to my problems somewhat but oh well, I know for next time.

Putting on the filling did not prove to be too much of a problem, and neither did rolling and shaping the loaf.  Really, after the stretching mess, everything else was pretty simple and I did end up with a pretty good looking povitica.  I was so pleased when I cut into it and could see all the spirals and that it was cooked all the way through, unlike most of the poor bakers' on GBBO.  I will say, once I tried it, it wasn't really my cup of tea.  But I'm fussy.  You all know that by now.  The lovely ladies I work with all seemed to enjoy it as once again it was eaten up rather fast.

Recipe - adapted from Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking

  • 300g/10oz plain flour
  • 40g/1.5oz caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 30g/1oz melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 150ml/5.5fl.oz lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 60g/2oz butter
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g/7oz hazelnuts
  • 80g/3oz walnut pieces
  • 100g/3.5oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 15g/0.5oz melted butter
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 100g/3.5oz icing sugar
  • Cold water 
  1. Put the flour and sugar into a large bowl.  Add the salt to one side and the dried yeast to the other.
  2. Add in the butter, egg and milk, along with the seeds scraped from the inside of the vanilla pod.
  3. Mix them the ingredients together until they start to form a dough, then knead with your hands until it is soft, smooth and stretchy.  (Much easier to do if you have a mixer fitted with a dough hook I'm sure.  Alas, I had to do it with a wooden spoon and my hands).
  4. Give the bowl a light coating of oil, shape the dough into a ball and place inside.  Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Whilst you wait, make the filling by putting the butter and milk into a small saucepan and melting gently together over a low heat.  Remove the butter from the heat.
  6. In a food processor, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, walnuts, hazelnuts and seeds scraped from the vanilla pod.  Blitz into a sandy powder.  Some nut chunks are okay as it will add a nice texture.
  7. Add the egg yolk and milk/butter mixture and pulse to combine.  Set aside.
  8. Spread a clean bed sheet over a large work surface or table and dust with flour.
  9. Roll out your dough into a rectangle that measures 30x50cm/12x19.5inches on the bed sheet.
  10. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter.
  11. Dust your hands with flour then ease them under the dough and carefully start stretching it out from the centre. (Paul Hollywood recommends doing this with your palms facing down so you are using the top of your hands).  It will become very thin and translucent (you should be able to see the sheet through it).  You are aiming for your rectangle to measure 60x100cm/24x39inches.
  12. Spread the filling gently over the dough, taking care not to tear it. (If necessary, add a little warm milk to the mixture to loosen it up if it is difficult to spread).  Cover the dough as evenly as possible.
  13. Prepare a 1kg loaf tin by greasing it with butter.
  14. Starting at one long edge of the dough, gently roll over about an inch of dough to start your roll, then carefully lift the sheet to slowly roll the dough up tightly like a Swiss roll.
  15. Carefully pick up the rolled dough and ease one end into the bottom corner of the prepared loaf tin.
  16. Wrap the roll around the base of the tin in a U shape and then continue to lay the roll on top of itself to form a second U shape.
  17. Place the tin inside a large plastic bag, seal and leave to prove for about an hour.  
  18. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  19. Remove the tin from the plastic bag and give the top of the dough an egg wash with the beaten egg white.
  20. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes before turning down the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 and baking for another 45 minutes. (Cover the top with foil if it starts to burn).
  21.  Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 30 minutes after removing from the oven.  Then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  22. When the loaf is completely cold, mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water to make a runny icing.  Drizzle the icing over the top of the loaf and leave to set.

Exciting news!  This blog has entered into the UK Blog Awards 2015.  Voting starts November 10th so hopefully I can count on your support!
UK blog Awards

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