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Potica (Slovenian Nut Bread)

Ingredients

Yeast

  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm milk

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Walnut Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • Grated peel of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 egg whites
  • Cinnamon
  • 2 pounds walnuts, finely ground

Instructions

  1. Yeast: Dissolve yeast and sugar in milk. Let set 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Dough: Combine yeast mixture and the dough ingredients (except 2 cups of flour). Mix well, then add the remaining flour until the dough can be handled without sticking. This takes about 20 minutes kneading by hand or 9 minutes on a mixer with a bread hook.
  3. Put dough into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let set in a warm place until double in size.
  4. Walnut Filling: Bring with milk and egg whites to 120 degrees F in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Rapidly add butter, zest and honey.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients, and add it to the milk mixture, then bring to a simmer.
  6. Remove mixture from the heat and add walnuts, ground fine. Allow the filling to cool down.
  7. Roll the dough very thin. spread the filling on the dough and roll into 4-inch diameter cylinder. Cut into loaves that will fit into bread pans. Cover the ends of each loaf with a small piece of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it relax and rise until not quite double in size. Egg wash the top if a shiny top is desired.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

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