Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Once again, I hang my head in shame at my lateness. I want to say it wasn’t my fault. I really do. But like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie.
Still, better late than never….
When I told T that the BBBabes’ June project would be quite similar to the povitica we just made, his eyes lit up. Here’s how the conversation went:
he: I LOVE that! That’s my kind of bread!
me: It’s almonds instead of walnuts though.
he: That sounds fine.
me: What about hazelnuts instead of almonds?
he: That sounds good too. As long as you use commercial yeast to make sure the bread is fluffy.
But that was way back then. And this is now. Here’s what I did to the BBBabes’ June 2021 bread recipe:
BBB Hungarian Almond Roll diary:
11 May 2021, 15:27 Tanna mentioned that she has a 5 pound bag of figs and is thinking of using figs instead of raisins.
Figs instead of raisins!! If we could get figs like the wild ones we tasted when we were walking on a dusty country road in Tuscany, I’d definitely use figs. But the figs we see here are expensive and sorry looking. We can get decent dates. Perhaps we’ll use dates.
Being the freak I am, I have converted the volume-only measurements in the Sunset Magazine recipe into grams….
20 May 2021, 18:59 It would seem we are great minds. Did you see KAF today… https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/dios-beigli-hungarian-walnut-roll-recipe
– Tanna, message to BBBabes
Cool! It must be that King Arthur feels it’s time to celebrate, as more and more people receive their vaccinations and things open up. (We just received word that our ‘stay at home’ order will be partially lifted on 2 June – they are going to allow people to play tennis and golf outdoors! And on 14 June, people from different households will be able to sit at public picnic tables – physically distanced, of course.)
Thanks to Google Translate (and glosbe.com), I learned that “mákos bejgli” is “poppy seed roll”, and “diós bejgli” is “walnut roll” in Hungarian.
Does that mean that “almond roll” is “mandulás bejgli”??
Several legends circulate about the beigli’s origin, but it’s sure that it appeared in Hungary in the second half of the 19th century and since then there is no Christmas without this pastry. Its name comes from the German word beugen (=bend in English).
The beigli’s predecessor […] [possibly] emerged from the famous Bratislava horseshoe. The first Bratislava horseshoes filled with ground walnuts and poppy seeds were baked in 1559 and became very popular abroad, too. […] Today there are many different fillings like chestnuts, marzipan, and even apple, coconut and hazelnut fillings can be found.
The most frequently asked question is whether beigli will split during the baking process. My answer is: there is a chance. After trying several versions, I can say there’s no “bombproof” recipe, which can guarantee that your beigli will be intact and undamaged. If you can’t bear the sight of a split beigli, I recommend that you should not make this pastry.
20 May 2021, 19:09 Look at me reading the recipe in advance!
Set on the center of a floured pastry cloth or clean, smooth-textured dish towel. Pat dough flat; with a rolling pin, roll into a 14-inch to 15-inch square. Spread or evenly dot Almond Filling over dough to within 1-inch of edges. Lift cloth from one side to roll dough into a compact loaf.
– BBB June 2021 recipe
I used this cloth rolling technique for May’s Povitica (we learned about it when we made strudel from a recipe in SAVEUR magazine). It works really well!
21 May 2021, 08:32 I can’t stop thinking about using hazelnuts in the filling! So I searched the internet for permission. Oh yay!! Both Laura Calder (French Food at Home) and EatSmarter! use hazelnuts in the fillings for their rolls. And Florentina simply calls for “nuts” in her filling for Nut Roll:
An Eastern European Christmas and Easter tradition, this nut roll recipe can be made with ground walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins and even a poppy seed filling.
– Florentina, Ciao Florentina | Nut Roll Recipe
26 May 2021, 16:46 Kelly just pointed out that there is no salt called for in the dough! How surprising – and good spotting, Kelly! The Sunset recipe online doesn’t mention salt either (but I bet the “butter or margarine” it calls for is salted).
The King Arthur Hungarian Beigli recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon salt to go with 248g flour. And Eszter’s (Made in Hungary) recipe calls for a “pinch of salt” in the dough. Kalle’s recipe at Ingmar also calls for no salt at all. Levi Szendro’s recipe calls for “Pinch of salt (no salt needed if you are using salted butter or margarine)” in the dough.
How bizarre!! Maybe Hungarians don’t like adding salt to their sweet baked goods.
I’m so glad that Kelly pointed out the missing salt! I now plan to add 3.5grams (around 1.9% by bakers percentage). I think I’ll add some salt to the filling too. And cut back drastically on the sugar in the dough at the same time.
13 June 2021, 09:11 Once again, I have not planned ahead well at all. After zillions of years putting it off, we have finally decided to have the main floor of the house repainted. But not the kitchen. Even though it needs it too.
Consequently, every surface in the kitchen is covered in things from the living room and dining room – anything that could not be put into the center of those two rooms.
EEEEeeeeeeeek!! How on earth can I make fancy nut rolls under these circumstances?
15 June 2021, 17:18 I am going to be later with my post than I hoped. We just realized that we have to stay nut/seed/wholegrain free for 3 more days. (I am also in the process of putting our living and dining room back together. What a difference a new coat of paint makes!! But. Now the upstairs and kitchen look a bit shabby. Hmmm. Maybe next year….) But the painting is done. Yay! And everything looks great – if you look past the disaster area of all the stuff in the middle of the room still….
16 June 2021, 11:23 Here it is posting day. And no almond roll here…. Having already decided to transgress by making this month’s bread several days late, I can’t stop thinking about savoury fillings.
I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, preferring cheese, coffee, or a square of dark chocolate
– Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No.3, p.241
Ha. I feel as though I’m in good company!
I also think that, while almonds are delicious, they can be a bit dry.
Hmmm, what about pine nuts? I like the look of the filling for EatSmarter!’s Herb Buns Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Olives and Sundried Tomatoes. I also like the look of RecipeLands’ Spinach, Ricotta, Herbs and Pine Nuts Stuffed Challah
This challah is not just bread, but also stuffed with spinach, ricotta, herbs and pine nuts, which gives the challah amazingly delicious filling and flavor.
– Happyzhangbo, RecipeLand | Spinach, Ricotta, Herbs and Pine Nuts Stuffed Challah
Or maybe the Beetroot, cheese and caramelised onion filling that Lorraine Elliott (Not Quite Nigella) used for one of her Daring Baker Poviticas: although, with those ingredients, the bread really can’t be called a nut roll, can it?
Hmmm… What about goat cheese? As in these spectacular Prune Blue Cheese Tarts?
Or how about the filling for Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys. Then, to make sure the name for this month’s BBB bread makes sense, I could add a topping of slivered almonds.
Yes!! I’m liking this idea quite a lot. Here’s hoping I’m not alone….
17 June 2021, 17:43 Hmmm. Maybe I’ll manage to bake and post before the first day of Summer.
Then again, maybe not! I just found out that it’s on the 20th rather than the 21st. That’s almost as good, isn’t it?
Yes, that’s it. It will be a way to celebrate the beginning of summer.
I’ve decided that I must make a starter for this bread. I just can’t bring myself to make yet another same-day bread!
18 June 2021, 08:45 Reflecting a little more on how many times I have failed miserably when using our wild yeast starter with enriched dough, I’ve once more switched back to realizing that sometimes it’s okay to use commercial yeast.
We’ve just finished reading Yasmin Khan’s excellent cookbook “Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen”. I really like the following, and if I were going to make a sweet filling for this nut roll, I think I’d replace a lot of the sugar with dates.
Just as I’ve been considering sifted white flour as a sort of “flavor neutral” component that could be improved by replacing some or all of it with more flavorful, less refined grains, so too I’m considering sugar the same way. Pure white granulated sugar is used to sweeten, but I’d rather think of it as a flavoring agent; using less of it on the whole, and choosing more varied and unrefined types of sugar and other whole foods that both sweeten and flavor.
Yasmin Khan, Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen
As it is, I’m thinking that I should at least give a small nod to the sweet aspect of Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll. I’ll add raisins to the filling!
20 June 2021, 15:17 We just got our 2nd shots!! Whoohoooo! I sure hope we feel okay tomorrow, so I can make this bread.
21 June 2021, 11:55 We’re so happy that the only ill effects (so far) are sore arms. I have now mixed the dough, adding everything but the butter – stiff, isn’t it? I’m also making Tartine Bread, and stole a small amount of active Jane Mason starter for the Tartine bread dough, to give the BBB same-day dough a little more flavour. But I did use instant yeast too.
12:52 I was going to knead in the butter. But, while the dough is rising, I decided to wait a little longer. Instead I stretched and folded the dough, then simply laid the butter on top of the bread so that it will soften.
Boy, that dough is stiff!!
I’ll make the filling after I squoosh in the butter….
15:59 I’m happy to report that the dough didn’t feel nearly as stiff when it was time to knead in the butter. Quel relief.
I ground the poppy seeds in our coffee grinder and THEN I remember I was supposed to toast them first. Ooooops!!
After I made the filling – it’s quite dry – I hope this isn’t problematic, I started thinking about my planned topping of slivered almonds. I was going to slather melted butter on top of the shaped loaf. But now I’m thinking milk might work better, followed by a little melted butter just after the roll is baked.
16:12 I keep thinking about this filling. Should I add a little milk?
18:15 Shaped!! And I would say that things did NOT go smoothly. The dough was oddly foamy, and VERY buttery. And I even used less butter than the recipe calls for! At least I think I did….
The table cloth is completely drenched in butter after rolling out the dough, in spite of the fact that I threw down a good shot of flour. I decided not to add milk to the filling and just gently manipulated it into a thin layer with my hand. That became absolutely covered in poppy seeds and butter. (The photo was taken after I managed to scrape some of the poppy seeds off, using the little wooden spoon.)
And yet. And yet. Now that it is rolled up, it doesn’t look terrible. I brushed on milk and liberally scattered slivered almonds overtop. Slivered almonds that I almost didn’t find, because someone who shall remain nameless (suffice it to say that her name begins with E) put them away in the wrong place in our ridiculously small and confusing freezer….
The roll is rising now. Fingers crossed that this bread is not a complete disaster.
21:10 Hmmm… It’s quite blonde. Is it done?? I hope so. I hope so.
Here it is just out of the oven. See? Blonde…. Maybe it will be better when we re-heat it tomorrow.
We warmed a small amount of the roll this morning. Then we headed out to the porch, to have savoury poppy seed roll this morning with coffee, admiring the beautiful day (and our newly painted porch). We’re so happy to feel completely fine today – with just a slight soreness in our arms. Did I say that we felt little effect from the vaccine yesterday? Ha! As the day progresse, we felt as if we had been run over by a truck.
I admit that I was quite afraid that my transgressions had produced something horrible. But it was quite delicious!
We’re going to serve it with chili con carne and oven roasted cauliflower tonight. Ha!! How’s that for a nice traditional Hungarian dinner?
Thank you, Elle! I know I have been wayward, but this has been fun.
Here is the June 2021 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:
Not-Gigi’s Not-Quite-Hungarian Not-Exactly-Almond Roll
based on Sunset Magazine’s recipe for ‘Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll’, and ‘Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys’ in “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Eszter’s recipe for poppy seed beigli on the “Made in Hungary” website
My friend Gigi showed me how to make this lovely, spiraled nut roll, from a recipe her mother brought from Hungary. Chilled airtight, it stays fresh up to a week and makes a delectable alternative to cookies.
– Jerry Anne di Vecchio, Sunset Magazine, 13 October 2004
makes one roll
- flour [The BBB recipe calls for “About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour [about 188 grams]”)]
» 175 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
» 5 grams wheat germ (to mimic stone-milled flour)
» 10 grams rice flour (no glutens, so this will help to soften the all-purpose flour – we don’t want this to end up being TOO much like bialys….)
- leavener [The BBB recipe calls for “1 package active dry yeast [7 grams]”)]
» 4 grams instant yeast
» 15 grams active Jane Mason whole wheat wild starter
- water [The BBB recipe calls for “6 tablespoons warm water [90 grams]”)]
» 90 grams water
» 6 grams milk powder
2 large egg yolks (divided)[The BBB recipe calls for “2 large egg yolks (divided)”) Even if I were going to use eggs, I would never bother using egg yolks only, and would switch to using a single egg. Apparently, one egg yolk is in the dough, and one egg yolk is for brushing on the top of loaf before baking.]”
» 3 grams flax seed, ground
» 2 grams cider vinegar
» 20 grams boiling water
- 12 grams (1 Tbsp) sugar [The BBB recipe calls for “1/4 cup sugar [50 grams]”)]
- 4 grams sea
salt [There was not even one mention of salt in the Sunset or the BBB recipe!)]
- 50 grams unsalted butter, softened [The BBB recipe calls for “About 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces [85 grams]”)]
Filling [The BBB recipe calls for making a sweet almond filling]
- 1 onion, chopped
- splash sunflower oil
- lump of unsalted butter
- 50 grams poppy seeds, ground
- handful Thompson raisins
- 3 grams sea salt
- good shot freshly ground black pepper
- slivered almonds
- unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- mixing the dough: In the morning of the day of making the roll: Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl. Add the instant yeast, starter from the fridge, and water. Using a dough whisk (or your hands), mix everything together to make a rough dough. The dough may seem a little dry – if so, put in a little extra splash of water. Note that at this point the dough is quite stiff. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes in the oven making sure that only the light is turned on.
- making the egg replacement: While the initial dough is resting, put ground flax seed (I used golden flax) and vinegar into a small bowl. Pour boiling water over top and whisk well. Set aside to cool and gel.
- Add the egg yolk replacement and salt: Add the salt to the egg replacement and swirl it around. Pour the sludge on top of the dough.
- Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and egg replacement into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. The dough will still be quite stiff. Flatten the butter and lay on top of the dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
- Kneading in the butter and sugar: Scatter the sugar (if it’s possible to scatter such a small amount) on top of the dough. Use one of your hands to squeeze and cajole the butter and sugar into the dough. You’ll notice that the dough becomes significantly softer.
- Stretching and folding Turn the bowl as fold and re-fold the dough into the center until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on for about 30 minutes.
- Stretching and folding again: Repeat the folding step at least one more time after 30 minutes or so.
- Filling: We always get whole poppy seeds, so had to grind them. The internet is handy:
Finely grind poppy seeds in spice mill.
– Bon Appétit: Poppy Seed Filling Recipe
Because poppy seeds are very hard, some people use a special poppy seed grinder, however it is possible to grind poppy seeds by softening them first. […] [Lightly toast] them in the oven at 350 degrees before using the mortar and pestle or food processor.
– K.C. Winslow, ehow.com | How to Grind Poppy Seeds
Do you have to grind them? Yes, you definitely need to grind the poppy seeds. Since this is going to make a pastry filling, you want it to resemble a paste, not a bunch of individual seeds.
– Simply Home Cooked, Poppy Seed Filling – Perfect for Pastries
After the poppy seeds are ground, chop the onion quite finely. Heat a small cast iron pan. Sploosh in some oil then throw in the onion. Cook at medium low heat, stirring it with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes until the onions are transluscent and just starting to be tinged with colour. Notice that the onion mixture seems a little dry. Melt in some butter. Remove from heat. Stir in ground poppy seeds, raisins, salt, and pepper and allow to cool. Add another lump of butter to the top of the poppyseed mixture, to soften and spread onto the dough.
- Pre-shaping: Put a cotton table cloth (I used one of our picnic cloths that used to be a bedsheet) onto the table. Scatter a light dusting of all-purpose flour in a large area of the cloth and gently place the dough on the flour. Use a rolling pin to begin flattening the dough. If it starts to resist being stretched, wait a moment to let the glutens rest. Continue until the dough is very very thin. If using the rolling pin gets tiresome, gently stretch with your hands. You want to have an edge that is around 3 times the length of your baking dish.
Spread or evenly dot Almond Filling over dough to within 1-inch of edges. Lift cloth from one side to roll dough into a compact loaf. Gently lift loaf and lay, seam side down, on a buttered 12-inch x 17-inch baking sheet. Pinch ends to seal, then fold under.
– BBB June 2021 recipe
- Prepare the dish: Smear butter all over the bottom and sides of your baking dish. (I used the big rectangular pyrex dish we use for brownies.) Sprinkle in a little flour. Set aside.
- Shaping: Put a spoonful (or two or three) of the filling onto the rectangle of dough. Using the back of spoon, gently spread the filling. If the filling is too thick, add a little water or milk until it will spread easily. Spread the filling in a thin layer over the whole rectangle, leaving a small margin at all the edges. When the filling is spread, use the cloth to coil the rectangle to form a rope that is about three times the length of your baking dish. Coil the rope into a U shape, and lift it into the the buttered/floured baking dish (seam sides down). Brush milk liberally on top of the shaped loaf. Scatter slivered almonds overtop. Cover the dish with an overturned casserole dish (so the dough won’t dry out) and leave to rise. The Sunset Magazine recipe imagines that this will take about 45 minutes. Clearly, their kitchen is warmer than our kitchen….
- Preheat the oven: When the shaped bread has almost doubled, turn the oven to 400F.
- Baking: Apparently, this bread is prone to cracking.
The biggest question is how to avoid it to crack! I just saw a trick in the comments that I would like to highlight:
“I use a fork and poke holes along both sides, making parallel lines, about 2cm apart. This allows the steam to escape, which is the reason why beigli cracks.” [- Krisztina, December 2020]
– Kalle, Ingmar | Recipe: Beigli – the Hungarian Christmas cake
Make sure the oven is thoroughly preheated before proceeding. Put the pan on a cookie sheet into the middle shelf of the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 350F and bake for 20 minutes.
- Continue baking: After 20 minutes, turn the bread around (to account for uneven heat in the oven) and turn the oven down to 325F. Continue to bake for 20 minutes more or until the roll is “rich golden brown”.
- More Butter: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and brush the melted butter over top. Put the dish of bread onto a footed rack to cool for 20 minutes.
- Cooling: Turn the bread out of the baking dish and place it directly on the footed rack. Allow the bread to completely cool on its footed rack before serving; it is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.
Leavener: The BBB recipe calls for using only dry yeast. I chose to add the extra boost (mostly for flavour) of our 100% hydration whole wheat starter. It took about 5 days to create. (See our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)
Eggs: The BBB recipe calls for using egg yolks only. At the price of decent eggs these days, I chose not to add any eggs at all – whole or divided (what would I do with the whites? Make meringue? In hot weather? I think not. ) Having never tasted this bread, it’s impossible to say whether there was a difference.
Milk and Butter: The BBB recipe calls for zero milk and 85 grams of butter. Because I reduced the amount of butter, I decided to use milk rather than just water. (Other Hungarian Nut Roll recipes do call for both butter and milk in their doughs.)
Flours: Last month’s BBB recipe for Povitica calls for soft flour. This Hungarian Nut Roll seems rather similar. Once again, I chose to add gluten-free rice flour to soften our all-purpose flour. I considered using buckwheat again, because it adds such a lovely flavour (but not particularly pronounced). However, it does make the dough quite dark coloured and kind of spoils the contrast between the bread and the filling..
Filling: The BBB recipe calls for making a sweet ground almond filling. I am a bad BBBabe; I refuse to make anything that might seem like marzipan. Brrrr. J’ai peur du marzipan. Besides, I had a craving for a savoury filling.
Topping: The BBB recipe simply calls for an egg yolk wash. But I had to add something to justify calling it an almond roll!
Bread Baking Babes Hungarian Almond Roll
Elle is hosting June 2021’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:
I picked this recipe out months ago. Part of my pandemic survival mode was to go through old magazines. One of them was a pretty old Sunset magazine. Sunset magazine began publishing many years ago, I think in the 1920s. […] [The recipe is] similar to last month’s challenge, Povitica, in that it requires a thin, rich dough. It also has a filling using nuts, but this filling is very different. […] The loaf can probably be filled with a filling made with different nuts and/or dried fruit, but do make it using the cloth-rolling technique with the cooked filling.
– Elle, in message to BBBabes
We know you’ll want to make an actual Hungarian Almond Roll too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 June 2021. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.
For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:
- BBB Kitchen of the month: Pat (aka lle), Feeding My Enthusiasms, BBB June 2021: Hungarian Almond Roll
- BBBuddy guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ June 2021 Hungarian Almond Rolls:
- Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen: Hungarian Style Almond Roll
- Cathy, Bread Experience: Hungarian Almond Roll with Blueberries and KAMUT
- Judy, Judy’s Gross Eats: Hungarian Almond Roll
- Katie (BBBBB), Thyme for Cooking: Bread Baking Babes bake Hungarian Almond Rolls
- Karen K, Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Hungarian Almond Roll
- Kelly, A Messy Kitchen: Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll #BBB
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms: Babes Bake Hungarian (kitchen of the month)
- Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups
» The Challenges of Povitica (BBB May 2021)
» Swirling Around to Catch Up (BBB July 2019) (sukkar bi tahin Tahini Swirls)
» Ceux-ci ne sont pas des cinnamon rolls… (BBB April 2016)
» Brioche flower; or is it a star?? (BBB December 2014)
» Are We Nuts?? Why Yes! We’re Making Coffee Cake (BBB August 2013)
» Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys (bookmarked)
» Dinner and a Movie: Stromboli (BBB May 2011)
» Apricot Roll and a Braid (BBD#08)