20 October, 2009

Taste of home: Nut Roll

This sweet yeast bread is typical for Croatia and probably, in similar form, for some other East European countries.
There are probably as many recipes as there are people making it, I know my mother made the dough a bit differently, at the time I was more interested in eating than keeping an eye on her baking. And now it's too late to ask. Her recipe wasn't written anywhere, she, like most people made it "measuring with her eye" if you get what I mean. So, after my mom died, and I decided to make some myself, I looked through an old cookbook (the one that my mom probably got after she got married, but I doubt she used it much), and found this recipe, that I've had much success with and haven't abandoned since.
This bread is kind of  everyday dessert, but also traditionally prepared at holidays like Chrismas, or back in the past, long before the fridge existed, at weddings etc.
For such big occasions, the whole neighbourhood would get together to prepare and bake them in the brick bread ovens.
That would give some more special taste. Yummy!
Apart from the walnuts, it can be filled with ground poppy seeds (my brother's favourite), with cinnamon, or even sweet ricotta and egg mixture, jams or whatever else. It's really versatile to suit everyone's taste.
The only one my mother never made was the one with poppy seed filling (called Makovnjača), because grinding poppy seeds is such a tedious job.
But my grandmother who had infinite patience in cooking and baking made it often. So once my brother asked her to make him a loaf and my parents dropped him over at her house (she lived about 8 km from where we lived). When the loaf was ready, he wrapped it, put under his arm and set off to walk back home (mind you, he was I think 7 or 8 years old).  Luckily our neighbour was passing and picked him up but not before he walked more than half the distance. This is just to show how much he liked it.


Ingredients (for 1 loaf): 
  • 250 g bread flour
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • lemon zest
  • 50 g butter (+ more for brushing)
  • 12.5 g fresh yeast (or 1/2 package dry)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200 g ground walnuts
  • 180 g caster sugar
  • 1-2 tblspoons honey
  • 100 ml milk

Mix the milk with the yeast and the sugar, and let it rest.

Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl, add the yeast, the finely grated lemon zest, the yolk, the melted cooled butter,

and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon, beating the dough until you can hear bubbles exploding.

Cover and keep in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Mix the ground walnuts with sugar, add honey and boiling hot milk. Mix well.

Dump the dough on a floured kneading board and roll into a 1/2 cm thick rectangle.

Brush with melted butter and then spread evenly the filling leaving about 2 cm empty border.

Start rolling yelly roll style.

Transfer the log on a greased baking pan.

 I decided to bake it in my Gugelhopf mould, but if I'm making more than one I just bake the logs as they are.

Cover and let rise for half an hour again.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
You can brush the log with a beaten egg, but since my upper side was going to be the bottom once it was baked, I just brushed it with oil.
Bake for about 40 minutes.

Turn onto a cooling rack. Do not cut until it's completely cold.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


In occasione del contest Giochino d'AUTUNNO sul blog Anice e Cannella, vi propongo un dolce tipico Croato. Io lo adoro in tutte le versioni - con i semi di papavero in particolare.

  • 250 g di farina "0"
  • 125 ml di latte
  • 50 g di zucchero
  • 1 tuorlo d'uovo
  • scorza grattugiata di un limone
  • 50 g di burro (+ un altro paio di cucchiai per spennellare)
  • 12,5 (mezzo cubetto) di lievito di birra
  • un pizzico di sale 
  • 200 g di noci grattugiate
  • 180 g di zucchero semolato
  • 1-2 cucchiai di miele
  • 100 ml di latte 
Sbriciolate il lievito nel latte intiepidito con lo zucchero, e lasciate lievitare per 10 minuti.
Mettete la farina setacciata con il sale in una terrina, aggiungete il lievito, la scorza di limone, il burro sciolto (ma non caldo), e il tuorlo.
Mescolate bene con un cucchiaio di legno, sbattendo fino a sentire le bollicine esplodere.
Lasciate l'impasto lievitare coperto in un luogo caldo per un'ora.
Mescolate le noci grattugiate con lo zucchero, unite il miele e il latte bollente. Mescolate bene.
Trasferite la pasta su una spianatoia infarinata e stendete con il mattarello formando un rettangolo spesso circa 1/2 cm.
Spennellate con il burro sciolto. Spalmate il ripieno lasciando due bordi vuoti (circa 2 cm).
Arrotolate e trasferite in una teglia imburrata. Coprite e lasciate riposare ancora 1/2 ora.
Riscaldate il forno a 180°C e cuocete il rotolo per circa 40 minuti.
Lasciate raffreddare completamente prima di tagliare.
Prima di servire cospargete con un po' di zucchero a velo.


Sastojci (za 1 veknicu) 
  • 250 g brašna
  • 125 ml mlijeka
  • 50 g šećera
  • 1 žumanjak
  • korica limuna
  • 50 g maslaca
  • 12,5 g svježeg kvasca
  • prstohvat soli
  • 200 g mljevenih oraha
  • 180 g šećera
  • 1-2 žlice meda
  • 100 ml mlijeka

 Pomiješajte kvasac i šećer s toplim (ne vrućim) mlijekom i ostavite da se diže 10-ak minuta.
Prosijte brašno i sol u zdjelu. Dodajte dignuti kvasac, žumanjak, naribanu koricu limuna, otopljeni maslac (pazite da nije vruć) i miješajte drvenom kuhačom dok se ne oformi kugla i ne počne bacati mjehuriće.
Pokrijte i ostavite da se diže na toplom 1 sat.
Mljevene orahe pomiješajte sa šećerom, dodajte med i vruće mlijeko. Dobro izmiješajte.
Istresite tijesto na pobrašnjenu radnu površinu pa rastanjite na pola centimetra debljine.
Premažite otopljenim maslacem, pa namažite smjesom oraha. Ostavite prazna dva suprotna ruba. Savijte u rolnu i premjestite u namašten lim. Ja sam ga pekla u kalupu za kuglof, ali možete ostaviti veknicu ravnu.
Ostavite opet da se diže pokriveno 1/2 sata. U međuvremenu zagrijte pećnicu na 180°C i pecite orahnjaču oko 40 minuta.
Neka se potpuno ohladi prije rezanja.


  1. Looks delicious Dajana! And you are so right, I've been asking my mom to write down some of her recipes for me now for awhile...she makes a cookie at christmas that I adore but have no clue how to make. Better send her an email.

  2. Citas mi misli, ja sam vec kupila kilo maka za makovnjacu, samo nikako da se odlucim, od sada samo jednom tjedno slatko, ( a to je cetvrtkom), tako da moram izdrzati jos 3 dana:(

  3. stupendo questo dolce, molto d'effetto!!! mi sogno la ricetta! un bacione

  4. I love sweet breads, looks awesome!

  5. wow davvero bello e immagino buono buono!!!!!

  6. Oh, it looks awesome! At first glance I thought it was like a jellyroll..well, I guess it kinda is, but you know what I mean??? I was surprised when you put it into the pan...divine :) Too funny about your brother! Makes me want to try the poppyseed kind, though :D

  7. ma è meraviglioso!! la segno di sicuro! ciao!

  8. Oh...what a beautiful roll!! I think I'd use pecans instead (walnuts aren't my favorite). I wish I had some with my tea right now :)

  9. That looks insanely delicious and I would LOVE a piece!!!

  10. ooohh..i love the swirls in it!!

  11. this looks wonderful your mum would be proud

  12. Dirti che ha un aspetto fantastico mi sembra riduttivo!
    Copiata :)

  13. Svidja mi se ovaj način pripreme u modli za kuglof.Volim je podjednako sa makovnjačom.You have a magic hands!

  14. Oh this looks familiar. We're Ukrainian, and my mom also makes this kind of thing. Except she doesn't put it in a round mold, so I guess it's more like a roulade.
    It is very homey, indeed : )

  15. I loved reading about your mother. This bread is very pretty! I love that baking pan. Sometime I would like to get one and then I can try your yummy bread! Hope you are having a nice week. :D

  16. Questo l'ho sempre adorato!!!

  17. What a delicious treat - love the walnut filling!

  18. Che buono! Ci era stato servito come omaggio in un ristorante (croato, of course!) l'anno scorso.
    Che piacere aver ritrovato la ricetta.

  19. I saw this recipe and it reminded me of my grandmother. She came from Slovenia and we called it potica. Her recipe called for us to pull the dough very thin (tabletop size) and then put a thin layer of nuts, raisins and honey. Oldtimers loved her potica, it reminded them of home.

  20. That's right, in some parts it's called potica, but also "strudla" or "pita".
    That must have been a very big potica that you made.

  21. Questo poi è fantastico adoro i lievitati dolci ! Purtroppo non ho ricette di famiglia a parte le palacinche e lo strudel ! Di che parte sei ? Mio nonno era di sinj (?)


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