Potica, also known as Povitica, is traditional Slovenian bread made in both sweet and savory varieties.
The history of Potica is fascinating. The word used comes from a Slovenian word meaning “to wrap in” It is a traditional Christmas and Easter dish and the first reported mention of it was in the year 1575.
This is a very traditional dish and many people recall from their childhood their grandmothers making many loaves to give as gifts and generally some extra to keep in the house. It is a tradition that is still practised in many households.
In some rural areas it is ritualized and these loaves are made for those that have “departed.” In many areas, the departed are believed to “visit” their families at these important religious times of year.
Potica has progressed over the years into a substantial number of varieties. There are in the neighborhood of 120 different recipes and they all are loved by many around the world. The first very basic version is walnut-based and is similar to a strudel, although it is rolled in bread dough rather than layered in very thin pastry sheets.
Another version involves pork crackling and bacon, which was originally made in the fall and early winter when pigs were normally slaughtered. With the advent of refrigeration, pretty much any time would be good for that now.
The recipes are no longer strictly Slovenian. This has become popular throughout Eastern Europe and you can also find bakeries in other countries that make them. There is a bakery in Kansas in the United States which makes these loaves and will ship to you.
This is not something that must be made in a specific manner, or in a specific type of oven, or anything like that. You can make your own pretty much however you like. You can also find places that will teach you how to make it. There is a bakery in Hibbing, Minnesota that will show you how.
There are also a substantial number of blogs and websites that are written about food in general and there are some that address the making of Potica in some of their posts. They almost always have a specific recipe as part of the post which gives you yet another version to try should you decide to make it yourself. This is not because you cannot get it elsewhere, but because many of the versions are much better eaten hot, not long out of the oven.
One of the more fascinating things about Potica is that it started as something for the very well-to-do and then eventually made its way down to the peasantry, which is the reverse of the way a lot of recipes happened. Most extremely good foods were created by the very poor to make the best out what little they had and at some point, the well-to-do tasted it and decided they wanted it as well.
This is the way food should go in general. The fact that people are still making food that was first written about well over 400 years ago is a wonderful thing. Unless that happens more often, people could lose out some wonderful items and their descendants will miss out on some wonderful things.