Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche

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The Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche is beautiful. It looks complicated but is so much easier than it looks. Can you roll a cinnamon roll? If so, you can make this!

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche sliced on parchment paper

What is Brioche?

You may have heard that word thrown around a few times before, but now known what it is. It is a simple rich dough- meaning it has fat, eggs, and sugar in it. One thing that does set it apart is the preferred rising method is a cool rise. It might seem like a hassle, but it is worth it! It makes the dough so much easier to work with, creates a subtle depth of flavor, and when using the whole grains, allows for moisture absorption.

Mixing the Brioche Dough

Let’s start by mixing the dough. Activate your yeast. This is a simple process of adding your active dry yeast to warm milk. Give it a few minutes and it will start to expand and bubble lightly. As a note for the temp of your liquids. You want them to be warm, but just warm to the touch. If it gets too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Activating yeast in Bosch Mixing bowl

Add in remaining ingredients except for the butter.

Ingredients in Bosch bowl for Brioche

After it has mixed for several minutes, add in butter while the mixer is mixing.

The dough will seem a little dry until the butter is added. Add the butter in chunks as it is mixing. This should happen over about 3 minutes. Take your time in mixing it in.

Bowl mixing whole grain brioche

Once it is mixed in, shown below, continue to mix on medium speed until it is smooth, about another 6-8 minutes.

Whole wheat brioche mixed in bowl

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

Brioche placed in container for refrigeration overnight

Fillings for the Brioche

Traditional fillings for a povitica are ground walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, milk, and egg. As mine is a modified version, I only used butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ground walnuts. I ground the walnuts in my Cuisinart Food processor. I have had this workhorse for so long and love it!

ground walnuts in food processor

Forming the Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche

Now, pull out your brioche and get the dough ready to go.

Chilled whole wheat brioche removed from container and ready to roll

You will roll this dough out to about 1/4 inch thick.

woman rolling chilled brioche on surface

Roll it into the a large rectangle shape. Now, just to note, this is a double batch. You roll with be the same length, half the width.

rolled whole wheat brioche on surface

Brush it with butter.

rolled whole wheat brioche on counter top brushed with melted butter

Next up is your brown sugar. Notice there is an inch at each end. This is what I will use to pinch closed each of the 2 rolls I was making.

rolled brioche brushed melted butter and sprinkled with brown sugar

Now sprinkle with the ground walnuts.

brioche brushed with melted butter, brown sugar, and ground walnuts

Roll each roll and pinch closed. Brush with the melted butter.

rolled brioche for povitica brushed with melted butter

Now, spread the brown sugar over the melted butter.

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche rolled and on counter top

Forming the Loaf

Now to form the loaf. Form an “S” shaped across the bottom of the pan. Then with the leftover dough, for another snake on the top of the “s” shape. Allow the dough to double.

Once it has doubled, place in the preheated oven.

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche in bread pan

Baking the Bread

You will probably need a little tinfoil to keep the bread from baking too dark. You form a “tent” and place it over top of the bread. Bake until it is a deep golden brown.

tinfoil to cover bread while it is baking

I like to remove the bread right away from the oven. This caramel that has formed over the bread will make it stick in the pan once it starts to cool. Then it will be a mess to get out!

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche sliced on parchment paper with teapot and mug

And here is the finished bread. Aren’t the swirls just beautiful??

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche sliced with red currant preserves

The top is crispy and has such a great caramel flavor. Then the inside is just as yummy. It is great warm, right out of the oven. We love it slathered in butter, but you can take it like it is too. It is also good toasted, like french toast. If you have any leftovers the next day, it is really good in a bread pudding too!!

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche sliced on parchment paper with butter and red currant preserves in background

I am telling you. This bread is amazing. You will want to make this and wow your friends!! Isn’t this Povitica-Style Swirled Bread beautiful!

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche

Bread is a big deal in our house, and I have plenty of other swirled options If you are looking for them!

Povitica-Style Swirled Brioche
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5 from 2 votes

Partial Wheat brioche povitica shaped

This is a beautiful swirled loaf that is much easier to make then it looks. If you can roll a roll for cinnamon rolls, you can make this loaf!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword Brioche recipes, swirled brioche, whole wheat brioche
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
resting time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour I prefer a white wheat. You can use a red wheat if that is what you have.
  • 1 3/4-2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter


  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3-2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Coating for bread

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar


  • Activate yeast in warm milk. Make sure your milk is warm, not hot. You don't want to kill the yeast. This should only take about 3-5 minutes, depending on the heat of the milk and your house.
    Add milk mixture and remaining ingredients to mixer. Start with only 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, you don't want to add too much to begin with. Mix for a few minutes before you decide if you need more or not. It's taking some mixing time to know. You want this dough to be tacky, slightly sticky. Normally when you mix a dough, you will want the dough to pull away from the edges of the bowl, with this brioche, because of the whole wheat, you will want to have more moisture in the dough to begin with. The wheat will absorb more moisture than a regular all purpose flour would. So, if you have a little bit sticking, don't sweat it. Mix for about 4-5 minutes.
    Immediately place in buttered container, cover ( I used a tupperware container with lid) and place in fridge. You can let it rise and use it the day of, but I think it is so much better after a cool rise. So, let place in an airtight container and it goes in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
    The next day, prepare your bread pan. I brushed mine with melted butter. Set aside.
    Remove dough from fridge. Lightly flour your surface and set the dough out. Roll to a rectangle about 10×30 inches. The dough will be very thin. Now, in the photos on the post, I had doubled the recipe, yours will not be that big.
    Brush all but about an inch on the bottom of your long end with melted butter. You will need that inch to pinch closed your roll at the end. It is impossible to do with the butter on it!
    Once it is brushed with butter, sprinkle your brown sugar over the melted butter and spread. Then add your ground walnuts and cinnamon on top of that.
    Let's start rolling. You will start at the top and carefully start rolling down. The dough is thin, so be careful not to tear. I started at one and, rolled and inch or 2 down, then moved down the line doing the same, until you have rolled the roll all the way up. Now, pinch the end to close the roll.
    I cut the 2 ends on my roll just to clean it up and make sure it was all the same size.
    You can skip this next step, but I think it is so good to add a sweet crunch to the bread. Brush your roll with melted butter. Yes, this will be messy. Now spread the brown sugar over the melted butter, again this will be messy.
    Now, you will lay the roll in your pan in an "S" shape. It will form an "S" on the bottom, then with the extra keep snaking the dough across the top. Sorry for that descriptor, I am not sure how to explain this, you will see in the photos on the post.
    Cover the loaf and allow to double at room temp. Towards the end of the rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Place the loaf in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
    Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake another 35 minutes. If the top starts to get too dark, tent with tinfoil. I did. It is a large loaf, covered in butter and brown sugar, it will get a deep golden brown. No stress.
    Once it is baked, remove from the oven.
    I like to carefully remove from the pan right away. Once the caramel starts to harden on the edges on the loaf, it can be really hard to get it out of the pan.
    I would recommend waiting at least 5-10 minutes before cutting into the loaf.
    This bread is perfect hot, slathered with butter. It is great cool, it is so good as french toast, it is great toasted. I mean, it is good any way you eat it!!
    Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!!

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