Monday, November 19, 2012

Family Traditions

I love tradition.

Maybe it's because I love history and the idea that something has been handed down from generation to generation.

Not sure. But it drives my husband up the wall.

I like starting new traditions and following old ones.

This week, I'm going to make Povitica bread.

It's a sometimes difficult, mostly time consuming recipe that used to cause me panic. It's nerve-wracking the first time you make it, but once your past that point, it gets much easier.

There's no getting over how long it will take you to make this delicious bread and every single one of my family members makes it just a little different.

I've looked up some history on the bread, just because I'm curious about my history and no one feels the need to share with me, and it's so interesting!

I'll share a link, so I don't have to brief the people that just don't care:

Anyway, this bread can be a challenge. There are many steps you need to follow and if you've ever worked with yeast before, that in itself can be a challenge. You sit there and sweat while waiting for your bread dough to raise, not once, but twice.

You have to knead this giant hunk of dough for 10 mins. Unless your cool like my Mom and who uses her mixer. Talent I tell you. My mixer is not up for that challenge. It told me that last year after it almost shook itself right off the counter when I wasn't looking.

Then, after it rises, you have to roll that sticky, hard to work with dough, paper thin. Without getting any holes or tears. There are many things that could play a factor into this part. Your rolling pin, the table you have or your sad lack of arm muscles. I have found my marble rolling pin seems to work perfectly. Although, my lack of a normal table this year is throwing a wrench into my plans. I'll need to set up a special table just for the rolling out of dough. My husband will be thrilled with this idea.

After your dough is so thin that you can see through it, you add the mix. The special mix that's been cooking/cooling on the stove. The ground up walnuts (that took forever to grind down to nothing), the cinnamon and other fragrant ingredients that I don't plan on sharing just yet.

You smear this on gently. No rips. You have to spread this thinly, but not too thin. You want a good ratio of bread to mixture in each bite you take. Not enough mixture, the bread ends up really dry. Too much mixture, your bread bursts open in the oven ruining the look of the completed project.

Get it? I hope that was specific enough for you. I bet I would be great at writing recipes!

It smells so good. Nothing smells better than Povitica bread cooking in your oven. Nothing. Ever. No sugar cookie or cake can hold a candle to the smells of  what this bread can do for your house.

After hours of sweat and toil (maybe even tears, screams of frustration or a random call to your Mom and tell her to get over here so she can help you) you get to eat that first, warm slice, fresh out of the oven. That is your reward and nothing will ever taste as good as that first slice. Seriously. Unless you cover that slice with butter first.  Ahhh....heaven.

I'm actually drooling right now.

I usually only make this bread once a year. It makes 2 giant U-shaped loaves and I'll end up putting one whole loaf in the freezer for Christmas so I can have myself a little treat then.

It's just not the holidays without this bread.

After taking that first loaf out of the oven, Angels came down from heaven to sing Hallelujah because the smells were so great, they couldn't resist. Christmas officially started in my home when decorations put themselves up and snow started to fall outside. This bread could heal all Christmas woes that may be in your heart. Eat one slice and see your Christmas spirit come back fully.

This was my loaf from last year. This is one loaf, cut in half. The other one, we ate rather quickly.
Traditions are important.
At least in my opinion.
That's why I'm trying to start new ones and keep the old ones going strong.
There are 3 little ones that I plan on teaching this to someday.
And I hope they treasure it the same way I do.


  1. Holy cow! That's dedication! I don't know that I could have the patience for it, but I do value tradition. Like St. Nicks Day. Or the pickle ornament. The mister does not understand my need to throw these "extras" in the christmas season gears, but they always have to happen. :)

    1. I've never done the pickle ornament. Seems like an idea I may have to look into!

      Jalon does not like the bread, which is why he gets upset that I need to make 2 huge loaves of it every year. But it's a must for me...that's enough of a reason.

    2. Ah the pickle ornament is my first real christmas victory - the Mister is a super grinch. I introduced the pickle with it's traditional story (whoever finds it on the tree first gets an extra present), but it's morphed into our own tradition now. Something about the pickle struck a cord with him... we actually don't ever put it away - all year long, if i find it somewhere in the house, I re-hide it for him to find and vise-versa. When you find it instead of a monetary gift you get a kiss. It's made him much less grumpy about the season on a whole. :)


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