Friday, December 21, 2012

Potica: A Step-by-Step Guide to Slovenian Nut Roll




















The last time I posted my family's potica recipe, I promised that I would add an expanded version of the instructions, along with step-by-step photos.

Suddenly, the year is drawing to a close. So here it is.

There are at least four generations of potica bakers in my family.  As a child in Cleveland, I used to watch my Slovenian-American grandma roll out the dough on her kitchen table. I learned to make it from my mother.  My sister and I have passed the recipe along to our sons, who have turned out some impressive loaves.

The step-by-step photos are from a potica-making session a few years ago. I had been asked to contribute a potica to the Trgatev, the annual fall grape harvest festival, held at San Francisco's Slovenian Hall.  So I decided to take photos and record some details, to flesh out the recipe.

The potica turned out well, even though it was a little overbaked.  Actually, it was twice baked.  I had stored it in the oven overnight, for safe-keeping, after reminding my husband to be sure he didn't turn on the oven.  You can imagine the rest!

I was tempted to call this recipe Easy Potica, even though that is something of an oxymoron.  The only truly easy potica is the kind you buy.  And yes, I have tasted some very good commercial versions. So far, the one that comes closest to my treasured family potica is made by these folks.  (It must be that Rocky Mountain air!)

Our family's style of potica is closer to pastry than bread.  With the rich honey-nut filling and the thin layers of yeast dough, it tastes like a cross between brioche and baklava.

But it is easier to make than many other potica recipes I have seen.

Here is why:

-The sour cream refrigerator dough is make-ahead, so the recipe is prepared in stages.
-The dough is easier to handle than the usual yeast dough.
-The filling is simple and elemental, with no complicated mixing or cooking.
-The loaves are made individually, which is easier to manage

Another advantage to this recipe: The potica keeps very well, because of the honey and sour cream.

There are many approaches to making potica.  There are also many different filling possibilities, especially in Slovenia.  (Including some unusual savoury versions, with tarragon and even pork cracklings!)

But this is the potica I have eaten every Christmas of my life.  It is also a traditional Easter dish.  So I am partial to it.

Enjoy!  And Happy Holidays, from my kitchen to yours!

And do feel free to join in the lively discussion in the comments below. I would love to know how you found this post, so please let me know!



Update: For a few more thoughts about potica, see my 2014 holiday update.

Gluten-Free? See New for 2015: Gluten-Free Potica with Amazing Almond Filling.

My Latest ThoughtsChristmas Potica 2015: Reflections and Revelations, in which I discover that my family's simple, rich walnut-honey filling is also the most economical!




Christmas 2015


Potica (Slovenian Nut Roll)

Dough

1 cup plus 6 T. butter, melted and cooled (2-3/4 sticks)
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1-1⁄2 cups sour cream
2 packages dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1 t. sugar

6 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 t. salt

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg yolks, and sour cream.  Mix well.

In a small bowl, proof yeast in warm milk and sugar. Add yeast to the first mixture.  Mix well.

Sift flour and salt. Add to the mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine.  You should have a soft, sticky dough.  Turn it out on a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic.  Divide dough into four even balls and flatten them slightly.  Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Filling

2 pounds (about 6-1/2 cups) finely ground walnuts
1 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
dash of salt (optional)

1⁄2 cup melted butter
honey to taste, 1/2 to 1 cup
(Optional: dried cranberries)

To Assemble

It is easiest to use a floured cloth to roll out the dough. I like to cover the kitchen table with a tablecloth and then put a floured pillowcase in the center. The pillowcase provides a good guide for shaping and it can also be used to nudge the roll along.
 
Remove a ball of dough from refrigerator and place it on floured surface. Roll it into a rectangle.  The dough should be thinner than pie crust but thicker than strudel or phyllo. I ended up with a 15 x 26 inch rectangle.

(For ambitious bakers: To make an extra-tasty potica, try to create even thinner layers. Roll the dough into a rectangle that is a little narrower but considerable longer. To see the difference, you'll find a photo of of an extra-thin potica below.  Or see a more recent potica post, here.)

Spread the dough with 2 T. melted butter and a quarter of the nut/sugar mixture, which should be about 2 cups. Warm the honey in a saucepan of hot water to thin it slightly.  Drizzle the dough with 2-4 T. of honey.  (We use the larger amount!)

Roll up the dough, beginning from the short end.  (I used to roll from the long end, but I now believe rolling from the short end results in a better-shaped loaf.)   After every few turns, prick the dough with a fork to eliminate air bubbles.   Pinch seam and ends closed and fold ends under.  Place seam side down on baking sheet or rectangular pan that has been oiled or lined with parchment paper.

Repeat with remaining balls of dough, for a total of four loaves. 

Let potica rise 1-1/4 hours. (Note: Loaves don’t rise much.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If necessary, bake for 10 minutes more at 325 degrees. Let cool before slicing.  To store, wrap in aluminum foil.  Potica tastes better the next day.  It stores well.  It also freezes well.


Variations: 

To make a less rich dough: Use milk instead of sour cream. (I've never tried this and don't recommend it!)

To omit the honey: Increase the sugar to 1-1/2 cups.  (We only skip the honey by accident!)

To avoid walnuts:  Just substitute pecans.  Tastes good, if less traditional.

To make a delicious almond filling, here's my adaptation from a Slovenian source.

To make a festive cranberry-nut version: Sprinkle the dough with dried cranberries before rolling.

To make a chocolate version:  See the previous post, for putizza di noci.

To make an easy poppy seed version: Add 2 beaten egg whites, 1/2 cup ground nuts, the grated rind of a lemon, and 1 T. rum to a 12 ounce can of commercially prepared poppy seed filling.

For potica with the flavor of Kosovo, use tahini-honey spread.

Gluten-free? See my latest potica experiment here ( includes a wonderful almond filling).


Potica Variations: Chocolate, Pecan, and Poppy Seed



Extra-thin, with tahini-honey spread



Step-by-Step, in Photos



mixing butter, sugar, eggs, and sour cream for dough



proofing the yeast
mixing dough before kneading      



dough, after kneading



dough, after refrigerating


filling ingredients

dough, rolled out


dough, spread with butter and walnut-sugar mixture



  

dough, drizzled with honey


potica, before rising (with extra "roll" in between)



potica, after rising


potica, after (over) baking!


potica, sliced



129 comments:

  1. This looks amazing! I love the addition of sour cream in the dough and I can't wait to try this recipe :)

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  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lisa! The sour cream is definitely the key. I hope you try it. Let me know how it works out!

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  3. This is the recipe I grew up with, too. The dough is so easy to work with. We seldom used the honey - still very tasty!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting? Where did you grow up?

      Happy Holidays! Blair

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  4. My motherinlaw taught me how to make potica 40 years ago. She learned from her Slovenian motherinlaw. The dough has always been hit or miss with me because the recipe said roll out one large sheet of dough. I am excited to try your dough! Do you recommend measuring 6 cups flour and then sifting or using 6 cups of sifted flour?

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    1. Hello Jack,
      Thanks for stopping by! Technically, you should sift then measure. But I often just stir to aerate a little so it's not packed and then measure. Also, flour has different levels of moisture so the measure is never exact anyway. It's good to leave a little flour left over when you stir it in, then add if you still need more. The kneading will also incorporate more flour. Hope this helps! Good luck--and do let me know how it turns out!
      --Blair

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    2. Hello again! Do you recommend taking the dough out of the fridge for a bit before rolling to warm it up a bit?

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    3. Hello Jack,
      Yes, the dough is pretty firm when first taken out of the fridge! So let it soften a little. Where are you living? Are there any other potica-bakers close by?

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  5. I live in Madison, Wi. I am the one in the family who brings the potica. I am hoping my daughterinlaw will take an interest. My sons have nicely declined. It is kind of intimidating!

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  6. I made it today...the pillow case is a great idea! The slice I had is delicious...but each loaf is cracked. Any ideas about what I can do next time?

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    1. Glad it tasted good, at least :-) Ours sometimes crack a little. Only a problem if the honey runs out! Perhaps you needed a little more flour in the dough--or it may have been a little too thin. But don't worry about it too much.

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  7. Hello! I just saw your postings...Am on the same quest...to recapture my heritage...100% Slovenian but of course, the family didn't teach us to write, read or speak the language, even though they all were fluent. Any tips for learning the language? I grew up in Cleveland, but have lived in Philly for the last 47 years...My Father is a lifetime polka hall of famer...
    :-) Shari

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    1. Hi Shari! See my replies to you below.

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    2. The largest Slovenian community in Cleveland was in Collinwood, and I just wonder if any of you are from there. My Aunt and Uncle lived on E. 160th and my Uncle was very active at the Slovenian Lodge. ~m

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    3. Yes, to Collingwood and E. 160th--among the many addresses where my mother's family lived when she was growing up in the 1930s-40s. She went to a Slovenian Hall around the corner. Thanks for writing!

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    4. That should be "Collinwood." Mom loved the polka dances at the Hall and was in a children's singing group. But no one in her generation maintained a connection. I'm the first and only one to try to revive it!

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    5. The original Slovenian community in Cleveland was the St. Vitus church area and E. 55th and St. Clair. We had our wonderful Slovenian Bishop A. Edward Pevec (God rest his soul)...and they still have Slovenian school at St. Vitus.

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    6. Thanks, Karen--yes, my mom mentioned that was the older community.

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  8. Thanks for writing, Shari! It sounds like you were exposed to more of the culture than I was. Language learning resources are limited--except in Cleveland, of course :-) I have been very lucky to find a class at the Slovenian Hall here in SF. There are some good online resources for at least learning simple conversation, which include audio. Best bet: go to Slovenia and take the 1 or 2 week immersion class offered by the Center for the Study of Slovene! Feel free to e-mail me--see contact information up above on the blog. Good luck!

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    1. To study the language in Slovenia: http://www.centerslo.net/index.asp?LANG=eng

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  9. Blair , I can not wait to try this recipe. Can you tell me if this is like Popiteetza'. I was searching for the recipe also. My Grandmama (Hele)Jeylika use to make a cheese and or walnut. I have yearned for it again for 20 some years. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I am glad you like this! I never heard of popiteetza. Could it povititca ("pov-vi-teet'-za")? That is the Croatian name for what is essentially the same thing. Where was your grandmother from?

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  10. Thank you for the clear instructions and the wonderful photos. This roll reminds me of my mom's nuss beigli and her mohn beigli. (Hungarian version)

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    1. You are most welcome! Thank you for the kind words. I love poppyseed fillings!

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  11. Blair, I have a bumper crop of chives and am desperate to recreate the chive-filled potica that a Slovenian friend of my Croatian mother used to make when I was a kid. Any ideas?

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    1. I have seen photos and read about potica with chive fillings but now you've got me looking for a recipe! The Slovenian name is zelševka. It is a specialty of Slovenian Idrija, the area that borders Italy. I have at least one in a cookbook I bought this summer in Slovenia--devoted to just 2 dishes, potica and struklji! Sure enough, there is a recipe. I have found more online, mostly also in Slovenian, although online translation tools can be used. So far, they look pretty similar. A standard potica dough, probably a little less rich than the one I use. The filling is just chives and spring onions, browned in butter, and seasoned with either salt or sugar. Ws the version you recall sweet or savory?

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    2. . . . except for the more elaborate one in the cookbook I bought in Slovenia. That filling is mostly green onions, some chives, with sour cream, egg, raisins, and sugar!

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  12. Thank you so much for such a prompt reply!!! I have scoured the internet, and did discover zelsevka, but the one in my memory had WAY more chives than in the photo! My dear mother and aunt tried to replicate it once, but made it way too sweet. They thought since I liked it as a child it must have been sweet. It was rich, but savory. Not elaborate! I am going out now to cut my chives, since it is supposed to freeze tonight, and then start the dough ( your recipe!). Wish me luck!

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  13. I tried to copy link but it was too long, and also gave an inaccurate conversion for the Slovenian measurement. So here is my paraphrase: Make your usual potica dough. For filling: Cut up 15 dag (=150 g) fresh chives and fry (but don't burn!) in oil or butter. All liquid should have evaporated. Let cool. Roll out potica dough as usual and spread with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with chives. Add salt or sugar, depending on the taste you want. Roll up and bake as usual. Good luck :-)

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  14. Thank you so much!!! I will let you know how it comes out!

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  15. I see we are playing post tag, Anonymous! I think you will like the version I just posted, nothing but chives! Let's face it, this is all pretty approximate. I would say just season the chives in a way that tastes good to you. Slightly sweet but slightly salty is a combination that is common in Slovenia (and Europe) but not so familiar to Americans. The rather elaborate recipe in my Slovenian cookbook specifies a "sweet" (sladkega) rather than "salty" (slanega) dough, so mine should work just fine. Please do report back!

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  16. Sorry to be anonymous, my name is Pam but I didn't want to create yet another profile!
    Just took the bread out of the oven and eagerly anticipating the first slices! I halved the dough recipe and made one chive and one poppyseed. The dough was a dream to work with.
    Will report back after it cools!

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  17. Both loaves recreate the breads I remember! Thank you so much for your help; I will be making these again!

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    1. I am thrilled that this worked for you! You've inspired me to try the chive filling now. Did you make your own poppyseed filling from scratch?

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  18. I used canned poppyseed filling with the additions you suggest in your recipe.

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    1. One of these days I will make a poppyseed filling from scratch! But the canned filling, with a few additions, does seem to work. Glad you liked it!

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  19. I made this recipe and the filling came out of the top. Could I have rolled it too thin?

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    1. That does happen sometimes, for me and even for my mother. I think it's from using a bit too much honey, and/or rolling the dough a little thin. But I wouldn't worry. It always tastes good!

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  20. Our family is Zadell and many still live in the Cleveland area. I clearly remember my Nanny and Great Aunts preparing Potica for each holiday. They spoke Slovian and my mother still remembers a bit of the language. How we enjoyed eating the Potica and such a treat. I am so pleased to find a solid recipe with photographs for this speciality and plan to make "your" Potica recipe with my children and grandchildren this Christmas. Thank you for taking the time to post the recipe and the instructions!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Debra. I am so pleased that you will be introducing potica to your children and grandchildren this Christmas!

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    2. I will try this today.I am also Slovenian living in the Bronx. My mom also made rozicev -Carob filling.Do you have recipe for carob filling?

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    3. Let us know how it turns out! I have seen carob fillings, will have to look for a recipe. Thanks for stopping by!

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    5. For carob filling, see this post from a charming blog called "Recipes from Emona" by a Slovenian woman.
      http://www.storiesfromemona.com/2008/12/31/the-potica-challenge/

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  21. Do you know if this dough can be made with bread machine?

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    1. So I did find a sour cream yeast dough version of potica, made with a bread machine. I am not sure how much time it really saves, because you still have to shape and roll by hand. But here it is for you to check out:
      http://www.breadexperience.com/potica.html

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    2. It seems to come from the Red Star Yeast people:
      http://redstaryeast.com/potica/

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  22. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! I think I have seen a bread machine potica recipe somewhere--but not in a traditional source. With this particular dough (very rich and soft, and refrigerated) it would not. I will see what I can find.

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  23. Hi. My neighbor's grandmother used to make 'walnut rolls' to share with friends & family when I was growing up in Virginia. We used to help by grinding the walnuts with a hand-cranked grinder attached to the kitchen table. It was not quite a bread but definitely not a cake either. Looked exactly like your pictures. I don't remember her using any honey but my memory might be off -- it's been more than 30 years! . Anyway, going to give it a try and will report back. I'm so excited! (I've been looking for this recipe for years but didn't know the name of it -- saw a recipe for 'potica' in an old magazine recently that looked not quite right to me and had raisins in it. Searching online finally let me to your post.)

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    1. Thank you for writing. I am so pleased that I could help you rediscover this food from your childhood! Please do give it a try and report back. Happy Holidays!

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  24. OMG, I can't wait to try this. I'm a single guy so I may halve the recipe. Either that or take it to my family's for Easter. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Go for it! It freezes well, so why not make a full recipe? Four loaves will go fast :-)

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  25. This is the best recipe ever! I've searched high and low to replicate the poppy seed and nut rolls my mom traditionally made for easter and christmas (german heritage). I halved the recipe and made 2 rolls so they were larger than your recipe. The dough rolled beautifully and I was able to get it really thin. Rolling it on a floured towel was ingenious as it helped in rolling the dough into the roll. The nut mixture again is perfection! Most recipes call for cooking the nut mixture and it never tasted right. Instead of using butter on the dough, I spread beaten egg whites and then the nut mixture. My rolls usually crack during baking but with your suggestion of the egg white on the rolls, the only cracking was at the bottom edge on the poppy seed filled roll. Thank you for the recipe and suggestions. With them I had successfully made beautiful poppy seed and nut rolls for Easter.

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    1. Thank you for writing, Karen! I am delighted that my family recipe helped you recapture the taste you remembered. Where in the US is your family from? I'm not sure I get the credit for the idea of brushing with beaten egg whites, but it does sound like a good low-fat alternative to butter. Happy cooking!

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    2. My german great grandparents settled in Erie, PA, and Cleveland, OH. I'm in OH.

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    3. I'm from Cleveland originally. I had a feeling you might be someone else with an Ohio connection :-)

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  26. Blair, this looks absolutely the best recipe I have found and I will be making it for Greek Easter this Sunday and I would like to know if instead of kneading the dough by hand can I use the dough hook that come with my mixer instead? And if so, for how long?

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    1. Fran,
      Hi! My dad and I own a baking company, An Affair With Food, here in Southern California! We make our dough in a mixer. The regular size kitchen aid mixer takes 12 minutes of "kneading" on speed 8. The mixer will wobble like crazy but don't worry! Then turn it on to a floured surface and give it a few kneads and shape it into a ball. Place in greased bowl and grease the top of dough, cover with plastic and let it rise.
      Happy baking!

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    2. This is a must on my to do baking list for this next week. MY people are from Sweden, Norway and Germany. I love this stuff and I know it is not the holidays but Oh, well....I just tell everyone I getting a head start practicing.








      s

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  27. Hi Blair, this looks amazing! I have been looking for a nut roll recipe for a few days and this the best! Love the fact that you can refrigerate the dough and make it the next day!
    Please let me know if I can use the dough hook that comes with my mixer instead of doing it by hand.

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  28. Blair this sounds delicious! I want to make it for Greek Easter and was wondering if I can use my mixer with the dough hook instead of kneading it by hand?
    Thanks so much.

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  29. Hi Fran,

    Thanks for writing--three times :-) (Comments are moderated on this blog, which means I have to read and okay them before they are visible.) It makes me smile that you want to make this for Greek Easter. Yes, refrigeration makes it so much easier! I generally use an electric mixer to combine the "wet" ingredients for the dough, but beyond that, it is strictly by hand. I have never used a dough hook--for anything! But I recently saw a potica demonstration at the Slovenian Hall here in SF, and a dough hook was used. So it shouldn't be a problem. Afraid I can't advise you about time, since I have no personal experience. Do write back and let me know how it goes. Happy Easter!

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  30. The last few times I visited my relatives in Slovenia (Cerknica area), they introduced me to a variation for the filling,....., it was coconut and carob. Absolutely delicious (definitely not traditional).

    Stan Drobnich

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  31. Thanks for commenting, Stan! That does sound tasty. Coconut may be a newer twist, but carob filling has been around for awhile, from what I've read. I sampled some tasty vegan potica with a carob filling at the farmers' market in Ljubljana last summer.

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  32. Grandma was Slovenian from Lorain Ohio, but visited relations in Cleveland, and PA. Used to watch her make famed Potica. After she rolled out dough, she literally threw 2 egg yolks at dough, squished it all around, added honey, then nut mixture, then rolled. Childhood memories. I have carried on Potica tradition. No takers in my family but they all love eating it!

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    1. Thanks so much for writing! I love this story of the egg flinging. Perhaps I'll try it. Happy holidays!

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  33. I continue the optician baking tradition. This year I made it with my 91 year old mother and future daughter-in-law. The aroma of coffee and baking are my most vivid memories of my Slovenian grandparents' home (Gorsiek and Intihar). They were in Cleveland and Detroit before retiring to Florida.

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    1. Thanks for writing, Vicki! How wonderful that your mother can still help with the potica. I am also from Cleveland and remember my grandma's wonderful baking.

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    2. I thought I'd make struklji today. If I remember correctly my grandmother sliced the prepared roll before putting in boiling water and served it with the broth as a soup. Have you found recipes like that?

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    3. The struklji recipe I have made boils the entire roll and slices for serving. (See my blog post for buckwheat struklji.) But I have seen recipes in which the roll is cut into pieces, using the edge of a plate to seal, and then boiled. I think that style is also found in Croatia. Good luck!


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  34. Hi Blair, I grew up in Cleveland, well, Euclid actually and was the only one of my siblings not born in Turnisce, where my parents were from. Recently I have been trying to recreate some of my mother's recipes. Like many Slovenian women she was a fabulous cook, having learned from her grandmother, who raised her. I had successfully made palačinke, and my first attempt at apple strudel was just OK. I decided to try potica when I stumbled onto your recipe. I didn't do the filling quite the way you do as I remember my mother always used whipped egg whites in it. But other than substituting buttermilk for regular milk I used your exact pastry recipe. I have to say it was every bit as good as I remember (and maybe better). It had a fabulous tender crust and each delectable bite practically melted in your mouth! I wish I could show you a picture of the lovely result. Second time around I substituted ground pecans for the walnuts and used turbinado sugar instead of white. Even though the differences were subtle, everyone who tried it preferred the pecan filling. Next time I will try to find some of the ground poppy seeds and try that type (I know how to say it in Slovenian but have no idea how to spell it). Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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    1. Thanks for writing, Joseph! So glad you used this recipe successfully. Buttermilk sounds like a great healthy substitute for sour cream! Yes, we've made pecan fillings and many folks prefer that to the more traditional walnut--orehove in Slovene, I believe. I also discovered a really nice almond filling that uses egg white--see my two posts from January 2016 for the recipe. Happy baking!

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  35. Our recipe takes 4 people to stretch not roll the dough Croatian version !

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    1. Thanks for writing! Ahh, there is much debate about stretching vs rolling, although the authentic Slovenian way is to roll the potica (which uses a yeast dough) and stretch the strudel (non-yeast.) But some Slovenian Americans do stretch potica, I hear. Do you use a yeast dough? Do you call it povitica?

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  36. Blair - I can not wait to try this (using my husband's Google acct)... My husband who I've known for more than half my life has always talked about the potica his grandma used to make but no one had the recipe, knew how to make it, etc. Living in Chicago, I figured there MUST be a cooking class but no luck... Thank you for sharing the recipe and photos!! Tammy

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    1. Thanks for writing, Tammy! So glad you can now make your husband's family favorite!

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  37. My mother had a friend from Cleveland when I was growing up. She gave mom a small green cook book that she got at some church, I think it was an anniversary edition of the cook book. It was probably Slovenian. I never looked at it . It was passed down to me but it was lost in a fire. I just thought I'd take a chance to see if you might know anything about a church selling the little green book. I was a kid and am now 64. The friend's name was Diane Cervelli.

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    1. Thanks for writing! Hmm, I don't know about any green covered books. Was it published by a church? I started collecting these wonderful old ethnic cookbooks very recently, so I'm not an authority.

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    3. Not sure if this is the book you are referring to, but I have a copy of a cookbook that my mom received in 1954 We are Slovenian, from Cleveland, but the cookbook was The Anniversary Slovak-American cook book. In the book, my mom had written a lot of notes, including her recipe for potica nut filling. The cookbook was edited by The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Union which at the time was headquartered on Lee Rd in Cleveland. It was published for their 60th anniversary.

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    4. Yes, this sounds like the book! Thanks for filling in some more details1

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  38. Thank you so much for the recipe and photos. They bring back so many memories of my childhood in Euclid. My grandma from Yugoslavia would have that big board that hooked over the side of the table to roll the dough. I remember her soaking raisins over night and me and my sister got to sprinkle them over the nut mixture. I don't remember the honey step. But it was so good to eat. I remember putting the Easter ham between two thin slices, for a unique sandwich. I'm still in the Cleveland area and have never attempted making potica. I usually buy it from an old woman in Richmond Heights. I think I will try it soon! I always go to Azmans Meat Market on 200th for the Smoked Garlic Slovenian Sausage that is about all we eat from my Slovenian heritage. I'm thinking about making some loafs to take to TX for my daughters wedding (at least in our hospitality suite), so we have a little of "Slovenian Cleveland" represented that weekend. Thanks again for posting! Debi

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    1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Debi! It sounds like you are overdue for a potica-baking session! Yes, I remember those ham sandwiches, too. My mother didn't do much to maintain her Slovenian heritage--except for potica. And she did make it for my wedding. I hope my sons will let me do the same!

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  39. http://www.fcsla.org/cookbook.shtml This might be the link about the green covered book. I am Slovak and grew up in Euclid, Ohio The First Catholic Ladies Association put the book out years I go. But I also catered at the Slovenan Homes in Euclid and Cleveland years ago. I loved every wedding I catered. Mary Stir always made potica and angel wings. Her homemade liver dumplings in chicken soup, pork chops and baked chicken and her famous rice. I love poppyseed potica. But you have to get a special grinder to grind the poppyseeds. It has to be a special grinder for poppyseeds if has to be extra fine. I used my kitchenaid and with a grinder and would not work. You have to cook the ground poppyseeds with milk, sugar, butter and vanilla until it thickens. Nothing beat the real stuff. Thanks for your post can't wait to try your recipe. Just google poppyseed grinders and you will find them. I bought mine from Canada years ago. Anne

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    1. Thanks, Anne, for writing--you sound like an expert! I would love to make a serious poppyseed filling like the one you describe. Perhaps that is the next step?

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    2. Hi Anne,
      We make poppyseed too and we use an old fashioned meat grinder with a hand crank. That's the only way we can get them to break down. Try it and you'll have better luck for sure!

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  40. I grew up in Cleveland and I believe I have the book. Its called "The Anniversary Slovak-American cook book". Published for the 60th anniversary of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Union. A fraternal organization in US. And Canada. At the time, 1952, the headquarters were in Cleveland and was printed by Tylka Bros. Press Inc. Chicago. Hope that helps. I found your post through Facebook about potica and thought I would check it out. It sounds good and I will have to try it.

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    1. Thanks for writing! Perhaps we will eventually track down that green cookbook :-)

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  41. you can get the cookbook from the First Catholic Slovak Ladies union it is under $15. FCSLU.com also they usually sell it at the Slovak festival at Padua Franciscan in Parma the first weekend in Sept.

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    1. Thanks, Sandie! I did a little searching and also found that it was available online.

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  42. My parents were Slovenian and their parents (my grandparents) came over from Slovenia. My mother had all of these wonderful recipes but only in her head and she always measured with her hands. Since she is no longer with us my 4 sisters and I tried different versions over the years. I am so happy that I came across this blog. I can't wait to try it.

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    1. Thanks for writing! So glad you want to try this!

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  43. Hello Blair!
    This is a great blog! I'm Slovenian and my family runs the Slovene Hall in Fontana. Every year my dad and I go up to the SF hall to make blood sausage for Pust! Do you go to Pust? We'll be there again this year and I'd love to meet you!
    If you've been to Pust you've had our Potica! Every year we bring about 50 loaves to serve for dessert at the feast.
    We own a little baking company An Affair With Food and we make all kinds of Potica, strudel (hand stretched), and Slovenian cookies, and 11 kinds of sausage!
    I love knowing about my heritage and culture and knowing how to cook like my great grandmas and great aunts! Our recipes were handed down to my dad from a combination of relatives, old ladies from the hall, my great grandma, and the Slovenian cookbooks. We've tweaked them a bit over the years but essentially they are the same. It's great to know you are inspiring so many people to cook and bake the traditional recipes.
    I hope to see you at Pust in March! I'll be in the kitchen!

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    2. Hi Julianne,
      Thank you for the kind words! I think we met one year at Pust--I complimented your family's potica :-) Yes, I will hope to see you again this year. I am just back from my Slovenian class at the Slovenian Hall in SF--talking with Robin about plans for this year's event.

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    3. Oh great! I'm glad we will see each other again! Pust plans are coming along and we love being part of the feast!
      See you soon!

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  44. You did not say but is that self-rising flour?

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    1. Thanks for writing! No, it's just regular all-purpose flour. I usually use organic flour. I think self-rising would not be a good idea, since this is a yeast bread.

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    2. Self rising flour would make the dough part more bread-y as opposed to soft moist layers that you get with regular AP flour.
      We use King Arthur Pastry flour as it has a bit more gluten and is very stable with consistent results.

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  45. I found the "green book"! My favorite spot to find out of print books BookFinder.com There are some old hard covered used ones there. Also, some reprints in soft-cover. I ordered 2 for some of my Slovenian friends in Cleveland.

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    1. Ahh, that famous green book! I have found it online as well and think I better order it. But let's remember: Slovak and Slovenian are two different places/languages--even though they are both Slavic cultures with great food :-)

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  46. I have been making potica for 40 years...my Grandma Videtich made it for holidays n i taught myself while my mom watched n gave me pointers...she was busy with 11 children so she only made it when she was a young mother....i have 2 cousins n one aunt that also make it. Most don't want to tackle it!;) We use a yeast dough and stretch out the dough to cover the tablecloth! And also put soaked golden raisins in , sprinked on top of the walnut filling. The filling is goieay from eggs in it and is hard to spread with your fingers on the thin, butter dough. I will try your way,,looks a lot easier!!
    I have a slovenian society cookbook that my aunt gave my mother. It was published by a Joliet, Ill group. It has lots of potica recipes in it and also pics of ladies making it.

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    1. Thanks, Fran, for stopping by! I just made a new almond filling that sounds much like what you describe, minus the raisins. It was very tasty--but definitely gooey, thick, and hard to spread. My family's style of filling is definitely easier--and more economical, too, as I just discovered. See my latest post (Jan 21, 2016) for all this new info. Happy baking!

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  47. I'm excited to try this!! I'm the only girl in my family and my Yugoslavian grandmother passed away when I was only 3. My 2 aunts never taught me one is now passed and the other we r just to close too.. I would LOVE to make this for my father! Up here in Northern Minnesota u can buy it anywhere but it's sooo expensive and I would love to try this for him!! So excited to try it soon!

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    1. You just made my day, Jennette! So pleased to hear this--and I bet your father will be happy, too! Where in Minnesota do you live? My potica- making grandma was born in Ely in 1902, just a couple of years after my great-grandparents (whom I never met) immigrated from Slovenia. The family moved on to another mining town, in PA, just a few years later. But I still think of myself as having roots in Northern Minnesota. Happy baking!

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    2. YAY!!! Another from the great white north! Yes Jennette is correct, potica here can be expensive and a lot of it tastes like ca-ca or it is way too sweet. I have only found one person who can make potica that tastes like my grandma's. I have the recipe and have attempted it once. Tasted the same but I didn't get the dough thin enough. I'll try again someday

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  48. Fell upon your blog on Facebook. My Grandma made pova every Easter. She was born in Calumet MI. I have her recipe and have made it for the past 6 years for Christmas. My Grandma loved that fact that I made it and shared it with the family. The recipe that was handed down was from my Great Grandma. My Grandmother remembers the entire table being covered with the dough in one big sheet always rolled on a patterned table cloth. When you can start to see the pattern through the dough, it is thin enough. She has been gone a little over a year now, lived to the lovely age of 94. I thought I was the only person making this pastry! Glad to have found your site!

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    1. Wonderful memories--thank you for sharing them!

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  49. Yummy !
    I "shared" this page with my daughter as her Dad's family is Slovak. She was learning how to make this from her Grandma, but only once before her Grandma was gone. She will be thrilled to have these directions.
    Thank you !

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  50. Good Afternoon Blair,
    It was great to see this online. My Mom is Slovanian and she always makes the "POTICA" for the Christmas & Easter Holidays. When I was a kid - my sisters and brother would eat the nut filling as soon as it cooled before my mom would spread it onto the dough. There were 11 of us so the pickens were slim if you got to the kitchen late. I grew up in north eastern PA but live in the Pittsburgh area now. Still can't find anything close to the recipe my mom uses. Have a great day!!!!

    Steve in Cranberry Township

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    1. Thanks, Steve--wow, 11 kids! May I ask how you found this post--this past week it seems to have gone viral :-)

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  51. I put 1/3 cup brandy in with the honey and nuts and butter for the filling------- makes a huge difference. got my recipe from my mother in law who got it from her mothers mother in the "old country." WONDERFUL STUFF. I brush the tops of the warn loaves with cold coffee. sometimes butter, but the cold coffee is my favorite. Have you done this???

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    1. That brandy sounds like a delicious addition! No, I have never tried that coffee idea, although I have read about it. Fascinating idea! May I ask how you found this post--suddenly there are lots more readers :-)

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  52. Carol B.-Joliet,IlFebruary 4, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    My mom used to used some pineapple preserves in her nut filling too...she rolls the dough very thin and rolls it up tightly so that there's little pastry showing when you slice it....fantastic in the toaster with butter on it.... Mmmmm mine never turns out like hers.

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    1. Fascinating, Carol--thanks! (By the way, how did you find this post? On Facebook, perhaps? It is suddenly get lots of attention--even during the post holiday baking lull :-)

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  53. Blair Where in Pa did your great- grandparents live? I am from Pa and my moms parents were slovak. I married a 100% polish boy and taught myself how to make all of the little nut rolls and big rolls. My little rolls are always asked for at parties and holidays. Your big roll recipe is somewhat like mine,except I use can milk. I am going to make your recipe for a dinner that we are going to Irene Connellsville PA

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  54. Thanks for writing, Irene. How did you find my blog? Your "little rolls" sound like the photos of "cocktail poticas" in a cookbook I bought in Slovenia last year. I had two sets of PA Slovenian ancestors. My grandmother and her parents lived just outside Johnstown, PA when she was between the ages of about 4 to 14, then the family moved on to Cleveland. My grandfather lived in Forest City when he first immigrated from Slovenia, then he moved on to Cleveland. The rest, as they say, is history--for my family, at least :-)

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  55. Just curious, You say "To make a less rich dough: Use milk instead of sour cream. (I've never tried this and don't recommend it!)" How can you NOT recommend something if you've NEVER tried it yourself??

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    1. Well, strictly speaking, you really shouldn't recommend a recipe variation unless you HAVE tried it yourself :-) But you right, anonymous, I was implying that replacing the milk with sour cream would be a less desirable choice. I meant my tone to be a little playful: pull out all the stops, use plenty of of honey, and so on. But there is also a more serious reason. Sour cream has some properties that are different from milk. It has more fat, of course. And (the more interesting difference): it is a cultured milk product, so it increases the tenderness of the dough and may also act as a preservative of sorts. If you do substitute the same quantity of milk, it would certainly work, but I imagine more flour would be required, since milk is more liquid. Or you can replace some of the milk with butter, on the order of 3/4 cup milk + 1/3 cup butter, according to one substitution guide I read. And if you like the idea of using a sour milk product, you could use yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir. If you experiment with this, let me know how it turns out!

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  56. Charlene KershisnikFebruary 8, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Found your blog on Facebook. I am Italian and have always thought you had to be Slovenian to make good potica - and i am right. However the desire to try is always there. I live in Rock Springs, Wyoming and there was a very large Slovenian AND Italian population here. I married a Slovenian man so have been able to enjoy potica all our married life. Your recipe sounds easier than some others and I can't wait to try it. Oh I think the little rolls mentioned in the above post are called "kolaches" and are scrumptious. Thanks for sharing your life and good food this way. I will let you know if i have good luck with your recipe....the pictures also are very appealing to me.

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    1. Thanks, Charlene! (Do you recall where this was shared? Just curious!) Oh, I think non-Slovenians can make perfectly fine potica. And there is a famous Italian version from around Trieste, called putizza di noci--see my blog post about it. Hope you give this a try and report back.

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  57. Blair, found your site on Facebook. My Slovenian family, last name Skulj, settled in the Globeville area of northeast Denver where there was the Slovenian Gardens and were members of Holy Rosary Parish and School. My Mother's Mom used to make 45-50 loves of Potica for Christmas and Easter. My Gramma used to sometimes make a Potica that was like a Strudel dough that was very good. My mother made a very good Potica and told me to scald the milk to help made the dough less tacky. I've given our daughter my Grandmother's large rolling cloth. So good to see so many interested in our heritage and recipes. Do you have sources for buying Slovenian meats and sausages? We also had relatives in Ely, last name Pucel. Thanks, Phil.

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    1. Wow--45 to 50 loaves is impressive! Interesting, the potica with strudel dough. I've heard of that variation--especially with apple filling, for some reason. Sources for meats and sausages--well, there used to be a good local source for klobase here in SF, but no more. Azman's in Cleveland is the place many people recommend as a mail order source for meats. Good luck!

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  58. Father Dominic, the Bread Monk shared your link on his facebook page in Feb.

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  59. Ah-ha--mystery solved! Thank you! And now I have discovered Father Dom, too :-)

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  60. Hello Blair. I am half Slovenian and grew up in Ely, MN - the Pucel name mentioned a couple months ago is a familiar one. I have lived in Alaska since 1985 but often go back to my Slovenian recipes to remind me of home. I was honored when my daughter, a junior in high school, asked me over the weekend if I could make my Walnut Potica recipe for an end of year party in one of her classes at school. I made 5 loaves using a recipe that I found years ago on the Better Homes & Gardens website. I will use your recipe next time and try that! A good source for traditional sausages is Zups.com in Ely. By the way, I am my daughter's dad and both she and my Japanese wife enjoy the Potica! Thanks for your blog!

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    1. Thank you for your message! I wish you had included your name--we might be related, since I have roots in Ely too!

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