“hand-made, hand-rolled and patiently baked to perfection” Prepared in the Croatian manner by Strawberry Hill Povitica Company in Lenexa, Kansas.  Since Matthew lives in Croatia I thought I would post this photo of the poppy seed bread and see if it looks like the bread in Zagreb. It’s expensive but delicious!  They will mail order. 100% guaranteed. My son’s mother-in-law said it reminds of her mother’s poppy seed roll (she was Italian).  I know several people who bake a poppy seed cake, too. Below is a Povitica recipe that has walnuts in the filling instead of poppy seeds.

Povitica Poppy Seed Bread
The pattern of the swirled poppy seeds intrigued me, thinking about how they make it.

Recipe from Kansas City Star. The recipe is From: Mary Lou (Pozek) Elbertson of Crystal River FL

No mention of poppy seeds.  Walnuts!

Povitica, Croatian holiday bread Recipe

To activate yeast:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cakes compressed or dry yeast


  • 2 cups lukewarm 2 percent milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs, use 1 whole plus 3 yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 8 cups sifted all-purpose flour (approximately), divided
  • Walnut filling:
  • 2 pounds shelled and finely ground English walnuts
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 11/2 to 2 teaspoons melted butter or margarine, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten

To activate yeast: Stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour and yeast into warm water and cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 5 minutes.

To make dough: Mix milk, 3/4 cup sugar and salt; add beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter and 2 cups of flour. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until dough starts to clean the bowl.

Turn dough out on floured surface and knead until it is smooth and does not stick. Divide dough into 2 large pieces (they will weigh about 21/2 pounds each), or 4 small pieces (11/4 pounds each).

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm place. Dough will double in bulk.

To make walnut filling: Measure 2 pounds of finely ground English walnuts into bowl and add 5 cups of sugar; mix well. Heat milk and 1 cup butter or margarine to boiling; pour over nut mixture. Add eggs. Mix and let stand until ready to be spread on the dough.

If the mixture thickens, add small amounts of warm milk.

To roll each piece of dough: Spread white sheet or cloth so entire table is covered. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons to a handful of flour (use sparingly). After dough is placed on surface, roll dough out with rolling pin to about 10 or 12 inches, spoon 1 to 11/2 teaspoons melted butter on top. Using tops of hands, stretch dough out from center until dough is thin and uniformly opaque.

Trim edges and save; spoon proportionate amount of nut mixture on the dough and spread evenly with rubber spatula until dough is covered.

Lift edge of cloth and roll like a jelly roll; trim ends and shape into a U. Place in loaf pan and brush with egg whites. Continue with remaining pan(s).

Cover pans lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

Remove plastic and place in preheated 325-degree oven and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check bread within 30 minutes and also at end of the hour to see that it is not getting too brown.

Laying sheet of foil on top of loaves will help prevent over-browning.

Remove from oven and cool on rack 20 to 30 minutes.

When cooled, put in food storage bag and wrap in aluminum foil if bread is to be frozen. Povitica bread can be frozen for several months.

Makes 2 loaves (one loaf yields 10 to 12 slices, including the end pieces).

Per slice, based on 10 slices: 641 calories, 23 gm fat, 92 mg cholesterol, 100 gm carbohydrates, 11 gm protein, 501 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber.

9 thoughts on “Povitica

  1. Growing up in Shenango Valley these were the special item associated with the Easter season. They do freeze well, but fresh is a real treat!

  2. How beautiful and delicious! I hope you are having it for breakfast right now!!! 🙂 Happy Holiday Weekend to everyone in Columbus!

  3. On the holiday of Purim, some make the filling for hamantaschen out of poppy seeds. Not a favorite of mine, but this bread looks delicious.

  4. We love poppy seed bread – especially for Easter. A favorite of my husband’s. Oakmont bakery does it up beautifully, and makes it by special order other times as well.

  5. Hi there!

    It looks very authentic Croatian. I am living in Germany but I am in Croatia a couple of times every year and that one looks like it does there. I hope it tasted as good as the original does 🙂



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