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Nana’s Potica

Nana’s Potica recipe – a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas. Make this dessert to give as gifts or for dinner parties.

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

My Nana was an awesome baker. When I would visit her in summers growing up, I would spend hours leafing through her cookbooks with dreams of owning my own bakery when I grew up. Little did either of us know that my fascination would instead turn into a food blog one day.

I’m actually trying to imagine trying to explain what a blog is to my Nana. I’m not sure she even understood what a computer is! I know I’m so lucky to have these memories of her since most people never even know their great-grandparents, let alone get to spend time with them in the kitchen.

My Nana passed away a couple weeks ago. She would have turned 99 years old this summer. Maybe her baking had something to do with her long life? I’ll believe it.

I’ve shared her Easter bread recipe on here before, and another recipe she would make for the holiday is this potica (pronounced po-teet-sah), a Slovenian nut roll traditionally made for Easter and Christmas. I’d never actually made the potica before until now, so this seemed like a perfect way to honor Nana.

It also seemed like the right time to try it because Bob’s Red Mill sent me some of their organic flour to bake with, which I love. Firstly, they are based in Oregon, and since I was born there I already have an allegiance to them. Also, I learned that they originally started in the 1960’s with a set of millstones from a flour mill in North Carolina, which is where I grew up and live now. So it’s kind of like how your favorite sports team is usually the one from your home state. Is it weird I just compared baking to sports?

Anyway, on to the potica. After all the mixing is done, it’s pretty simple. The yeast dough is refrigerated (trust me, this helps), then rolled out and a sweet nut filling is scooped on top. Then rolled tightly. Try not to overstuff the filling – if you have leftover you can always add it as a topping.

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.
Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.
Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

I made 4 loaves out of my batch, but you can make 2 or 3 larger loaves if you prefer. You’ll just need a larger area to roll out the dough initially, but they will obviously be thicker rolls resulting in more layers. This makes each slice appear more “swirly,” if you will.

I used the Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour, which is freshly milled from Organic hard red wheat.

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

Both the bran and the germ have been removed leaving the endosperm that is made into white flour. It is not enriched with any additives.

Everyone in my family loves this bread. My grandma brought some home from the funeral made by people at the church, my aunt also made this last week and TRIPLED the recipe, and by the time I made this and brought some home everyone was still eating it up.

I hope you’re proud, Nana. Love you.

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

Need more Easter recipe ideas? Check out this list of 40+ vegetarian Easter mains, sides, and desserts

Yield: 2 loaves

Nana's Potica

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rise time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast, (2 packets)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks, (save the egg whites for the filling)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour, (plus more for rolling out as needed)

For the nut filling:

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, add the yeast and water and mix together to make a paste. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add salt, egg yolks, sour cream, and start adding the flour 1 cup at a time until combined.
  3. Add the proofed yeast (should be bubbly) to the flour mixture and combine. Dough will be sticky.
  4. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight (see note*)
  5. Remove dough from fridge and separate into 3-4 balls.
  6. Roll out each ball into rectangles (about 1/4 of an inch works well), adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  7. Mix together all ingredients for nut filling and spread evenly over dough, leaving a little room near the edges so it doesn't overflow when rolled.
  8. Roll tightly.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. Let rise for 1 hour (will rise more in the oven if the dough has been refrigerated for a longer time)
  11. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until browned.

Notes

I tried this recipe by refrigerating the dough only briefly (30 minutes to an hour) and also overnight. If you are in a hurry, it will still turn out mostly the same by refrigerating briefly but the longer time will help the dough be more manageable when you need to roll it out from my experience.

*Calories are for 1/12 of a loaf.

**This nut roll can be served hot or cooled - whichever your preference! Kind of like a cookie. I prefer room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1/12 of a loaf

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.

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Nana's Potica recipe - a Slovenian nut roll traditionally served at Easter and Christmas. Make this to give as gifts or for dinner parties.

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Rita

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Love, love, love potica! Quick question ... rapid yeast or active yeast? Does it matter? Thank you SO much for posting this. My mom made this every Thanksgiving and Easter. She passed away a few years ago and I have not mastered her recipe. I made yours last year and it was a hit with my dad! I just don't remember what type of yeast I used. Thanks so much!

Kelly

Thursday 11th of November 2021

This made my day! So glad this helped you remember your mom <3. Active yeast is the kind that needs to be proofed in water first (like in this recipe). Theoretically you should be able to use instant/rapid rise yeast also you just wouldn't need to proof it. Hope this helps!

Pat Meyer

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

My aunts used to come from Minnesota and make their version of poteetusa. Made with ground walnuts and chopped dates cooked into a paste with added butter. I most often use a sweet roll dough. My family loves it. This recipe came up because of a cookbook my daughter is partaking in.

Amanda

Saturday 26th of December 2020

Best recipe ever!! Only thing I added was a little bit of cinnamon. This recipe is perfect!! Thank you for sharing.

Donatella

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Vorrei se fosse possibile la traduzione in lingua italiana grazie

Melissa Powers

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Hi Kelly,

Thank you for posting this recipe, my Slovak grandmother made this often but never wrote a recipe down. I've tried other nutroll recipes but this tastes the best! My only question is can you seal the ends (where the roll ends) with egg whites or some water to keep from splitting?

Thanks!

Kelly

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

That makes me so happy to hear! This was definitely her tradition in our family as well. I'm not sure if you mean the ends, or the seam, but I usually pinch/tuck the dough together at the each end to seal it and then bake it seam side down so it doesn't split. I haven't tried egg whites but that might work if you prefer that method!

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