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Hi Bold Bakers!
NOTE FROM GEMMA: Bold Bakers, I want to introduce you to Marko Josipović! Marko has been a longtime fan of Bigger Bolder Baking and has grown up blazing his own culinary path. He’s also the founder of MarkoBakes.com and you can find all of his gorgeous creations on Instagram. He’s here to share some of his recipes with us all, starting with his Croatian Poppy Seed Rolls — perfect for Christmas or even New Years!
Hi everyone, I’m Marko! Christmas time is my absolute favourite time of the year and it always makes me so nostalgic. I’m a massive foodie, so food to me is not just about the taste or looks, it’s about the memories and feelings as well. When I think of Christmas and Christmas bakes, the first thing I think of is all the traditional desserts I grew up with. Something that was always on the Christmas dessert table was these poppy seed rolls. There’s also a version with a walnut filling, but I always found the poppy one tastier.
I remember how my grandma always had so much to cook when we’d go to her house for Christmas, that she always ended up ordering these rolls from the local bakery. Years later it became more of a tradition for my mom to make these and she makes them with half poppy seeds and half walnuts, so now I bring this recipe to you!
When you hear the word ‘rolls’ in the bakery you think of either a cinnamon bun type of a roll or dinner rolls type of bake. However, these ones are baked a little differently. It all starts with an enriched dough with butter, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
Form The Poppy Seed Roll Dough
The ingredients then get mixed until a soft dough forms. Because there are so many ingredients providing richness, it is important that the dough is very well kneaded for the gluten to develop, and for the yeast to beautifully work its magic.
If you’re using a stand mixer, 10 minutes should do the trick, and if you’re using your hands, definitely get in there and knead for a good 15 minutes, just to make sure. You’ll know you’re done once the sides of the mixer bowl are clean, or once the dough is bouncy, springs back to the touch, and is only slightly tacky.
The Proper Rising
Next up is the rising process. I actually covered my bowl tightly in cling film, and let it rise slowly in the fridge overnight. You can also just let it rise at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours until doubled in volume, and then get to making your rolls.
Make The Filling
While your dough is rising, or just before you’re ready to make your rolls, prepare the filling. Take the ground poppy seeds, lemon zest, and cinnamon, and add them to a pot with some milk. Once the milk starts to boil, add in some sugar and mix until melted. The mixture might look a bit weird and displeasing, but it’s actually very tasty, trust me! Once you have the filling ready, just let it cool slightly before spreading it onto your dough.
Shaping & Baking
Dough shaping time! Tip your risen dough out to a floured work surface and roll it out quite thin. You want a long rectangle, with dough that’s only about ¼ – inches thick. Then, spread a very thin amount of soft butter onto the dough, followed by a thin layer of your poppy seed filling.
Once the filling is on there, roll into a tight long log, and depending on your baking tray, split into 3 or 4 pieces to fit the tray. Before baking, I just brushed my rolls with some milk, and baked them at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes until browned, covered them with foil, and baked another 10 minutes to finish fully baking and to ensure they are cooked through.
The Finished Product: Croatian Poppy Rolls
Once they’re done, let them cool slightly, but while they are still warm, sift some powdered sugar on top so it nicely sticks. I enjoy eating them warm, as a pre-breakfast on Christmas morning while opening presents, with a big mug of coffee!