Patica – Czechoslovakian Christmas Bread

The Beulah Karney Program & WENR held an heirloom recipe contest, entries came in by the bagful. Here is Beulah at her desk with some of the entries. Even envelopes addressed to “Beulah, Chicago Illinois” made it to her. Imagine that today!

recipe contest entries by the bagful

This prize winner was a favorite at my house (still is) growing up…it wasn’t Christmas morning without Patica…

Bread dough
2 yeast cakes
¾ cup sugar
1 pint warm buttermilk
1 tbs salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup soft butter or margarine
3 eggs

Dressing
1 cup honey
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups finely chopped walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Crumble yeast cakes on bowl. Add ¼ cup sugar. Pour buttermilk over yeast and let stand 10 minutes. Add 3 cups flour to mixture. Beat smooth, then let stand until light and bubbly. (This will take 20 to 30 minutes, depending upon temperature). Beat in butter or margarine and remaining sugar. Add 3 eggs, remaining flour and salt. Beat smooth.

Set in warm place to rise. Cover with damp cloth or paper. (rising will take from 1 to 1 ½ hours). When light, punch down, and allow to rise again. (This last rising can be eliminated).

After punching down, toss onto floured cloth. Roll very thin in one long strip about 6 inches wide. (You may have to double this on your table as it will be a strip some 6 to 8 feet in length). Spread strip with beaten egg and honey. Then sprinkle with half of chopped nuts and mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Roll lengthwise two or three times into rope. Press seam to hold dressing in. roll should be about 1 ½” in diameter.

Grease tube pan with cold butter or margarine. Line pan with remaining finely chopped nuts so that outside of ring will be crusty when baked. Now coil dough round and round in pan. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) from 1 to 1/1/4 hours. Remove from pan at once. When cool, the ring can be iced and decorated with candied cherries, citron, etc.

To make an attractive centerpiece, put glittering Christmas tree balls around the platter and rest it on spruce boughs. Patica may be made a day or two before it is to be used. Then the flavoring will really permeate the whole ring.

Mrs. J. W. Humfreville
Chicago, Illinois

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6 Responses to Patica – Czechoslovakian Christmas Bread

  1. Patricia Tucker says:

    My grandparents were from Yugoslavia. When I was growing up they lived in Tuscon, Arizona. My grandmother made POTICA. I recently found out that I could buy it from a catalog company in Vermont which I did for Christmas. It brought back many memories. Is this the same bread?

  2. renee says:

    i make patica every year like my mother in law did and hers is no way like yours is there different ways to make it she is slovak even the filling is nothing like hers

  3. Brenda Hull says:

    I am 53 this year and my mothers family was from Yugoslavia, my grandmother came to the United States in 1903 on a ship that came to Ellis island. I can remember my grandmother and then my mother making Patica every year at Christmas. They always had a slang name for it too, they simply called it hunkey bread. I can remember asking my mother what hunkey meant and she would just say that’s what they called it in the old country. They are all gone now and my daughter and I keep the tradition alive. Ours is a yeast bread that is worked and then left to rise until it doubles. It is then rolled out to look similar to a pizza and then spices aiiíwu

  4. Brenda Hull says:

    I didn’t get it finished, I would like to edit it.

  5. Rachel says:

    My grandmother used to make potica every Christmas during my childhood to carry on the Slovenian traditions of my grandfather’s family. They had emigrated from Trieste which was in the Austro-Hugarian Empire at the time in the beginning of the 20th century. I loved helping her and even still love the bread itself. Very special memories made even better because the bread is such a unique secret! Thanks for posting an old world recipe for it – I haven’t made it for years and have never made the dough myself, always cut that corner with store-bought – but when I do get around to it, I know where to look!

  6. Sharon snyder says:

    I was introduced to patic a by dear friends who had friends from Italy and so is there an Italian version…the ingredients are similar but the dough is stretched, filled and rolled and placed into small bread pans. when baked it’s a lovely loaf and sliced a delicious bead roles with nuts, honey…..

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