Just in time for Easter, here it is: The long overdue recipe for the new potica variant I baked and froze in December, in anticipation of the out-of-town Christmas gathering that never happened.
For the past five years, I have supplemented the annual family Christmas potica with a dairy-free alternative. This year was no exception. But the bigger news is that I also figured out a way to successfully apply the no-knead "Artisan Bread in Five" approach to this traditional holiday dish.
I had tried once before to adapt my standard potica dough (which already calls for overnight refrigeration) by adding the initial two hour rise at room temperature, as the artisan approach specifies. Unfortunately, that extra step seemed to exhaust the yeast, perhaps because my dough is so dairy- rich.
So this time, I decided go straight to the source. I found a number of variants of brioche dough in the large collection of cookbooks and websites devoted to this popular approach to yeast breads. The most promising was a relatively light brioche dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Authors Hertzberg and François suggest using it to make a rolled pastry bread with an apple-nut filling they call Apple Strudel Bread (which sounds very potica-like!)
I used their brioche recipe as a foundation, with some significant adaptations: I skipped the whole grains in favor of all-purpose flour, and I used sugar rather than honey. I ended up using a slightly higher proportion of eggs, since I made a half recipe. As you will see in the recipe below, the dairy substitutes I used happened to be coconut-based.
In keeping with my usual practice, I added a little twist to the filling. After drizzling honey on the walnut-sugar layer, I added some dollops of apricot jam.
For whatever reason, this combination was a winner. Although the dough was slightly less rich than the family version, the end product was much the same. It tasted delicious--and it was better the next day. And better still after freezing. In some respects, it was even superior to the traditional batch this year. And it was definitely easier, since no kneading was required!