Breads, Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert

Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk

Nicoletta October 10, 2019

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Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk, a lovely sweet yeast bread that I made with spelt flour, filled with poppy seed, walnuts, and raisins, for our monthly challenge, Eat The World. Not too sweet, flavored with honey, lemon zest, and juice, this Poppy Seed Roll is a delight to eat any time of the day.

Song the day: Rescue Me – OneRepublic

Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-feature

This month, our “Eat The World” challenge takes us to Ukraine! I chose to bake a traditional Poppy Seed Roll, one of the most loved and popular sweet yeast bread in all the Eastern Europe  Countries. The filling can be made with only poppy seeds, however, I read that added walnuts and raisins are welcome and they are indeed a great addition!

 

 

Eat The World

I am always excited to hear where we are heading next, on our virtual travel around the world, learning a Country through its food.

I start researching right away, especially if it is a place on Earth where I have never been. I read what traditional foods are eaten, and I usually decide if it’s for me, or I hand the cape to Loreto. If I don’t find any baked goods that spark my interest, that is.

Unfortunately for Loreto, I found just what I wanted to bake: a Poppy Seed Roll. I only wish I had found something less challenging and time-consuming. But, hey, it’s a challenge, right?

Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk 

Makivnyk is a traditional Ukrainian pastry consisting of a roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling of poppy seeds. As a matter of fact, poppy seed roll is common in many Eastern European Countries and traditionally it is made for special holidays like Christmas, or Easter. It is funny how you find similarities among European Countries because Loreto said it tasted a bit like our Panettone, and Colomba (minus the poppy seeds), the sweet yeast bread we make for Christmas and Easter in Italy.

Spelt flour yeast bread

I adapted a recipe I found here. I took the liberty to make the yeast dough with spelt flour, instead of regular flour. You might know, by now, that I like baking with spelt flour. It adds a lovely nuttiness to the baked goods, it gives a lovely golden color, and it is is more digestible than wheat flour, tolerated also by people with mild sensitivity to gluten. 

I used fresh -baker’s- yeast, but you can use active dry yeast. I never use instant yeast. If using a stand mixer with the hook attachment, the dough is ready in less time than you might think. 

TIP: Remeber to continue mixing the dough on low (2)  for about 15 minutes. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-dough

Oil a large bowl and roll the dough in it. Then cover with a moistened dish towel or plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until double in size, 1 to 2 hours. In the meantime, you can start crushing the poppy seeds.

Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-dough and ingredients filling

The Filling
  • Crush the walnuts
  • Grind the poppy seeds
  • Chop the raisins
  • Measure 1/2 cup of honey
  • Juice and zest a lemon
  • Separate the egg white from the egg yolk (that you will use after)

I found the most time-consuming part (and messy part) was the preparation of the poppy seeds. I don’t know why I thought you added the poppy seed like that. They’re so small, who would have thought you needed to grind them?? Well, first they need to be soaked in hot water, then drained, then partially dried, then ground. Good thing I only had 1 cup! Some recipes go for 1/2 pound of poppy seeds!

I used a mortar an pestle, both, to crush the walnuts and the poppy seeds, in small batches. You need to get to the white, milky part, of the poppy seeds, so crush and crush. Or use a spice grinder, if you have it.

Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-ingredients filling

After a couple of hours, the dough has doubled in size. Punch it down and let it rise again for another 1 or so. It’s very therapeutic to punch down dough, lol!

Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-punching dough

Roll out, Spread, and Roll up
  1. After the resting time, divide the dough in two.  Leave one half covered and set aside​.
  2. Take the other half, place it on a floured surface (I use my wood board), sprinkle some flour on top and on the rolling pin, and roll it into a rectangular or oval shape, similar to a thin crust pizza dough.
  3. Line an extra-large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350° F (I used convection bake).
  4. Spread half of the filling on top of the rectangle of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border free from filling on each rectangle.  Roll up from the longer side (not too tight, they say), and pinch the edges to seal.
  5. Repeat the same for the other half of the dough.
  1. Place them, seam side down, side-by-side, on the lined baking sheet. Let them rise again, covered with a towel, for 40-45 minutes.
  2. After that time, brush the top with egg wash and cut few slits on top to allow steam to escape.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for  25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are a deep golden color. I used convection bake, so in a conventional bake, it might take a little longer.

And voila! The Ukrainian Poppy Seed Rolls  are out of the oven. They licked some of their sweet juices out and I’m just fine with that. They are a beautiful golden color and smell delicious. 

I already see myself delivering pieces of this Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll to neighbors, friends, and family. But first, a little taste.

It is light, delicate, and honey-sweet. The poppy seeds, raisins, and walnuts offer a beautiful textural element and the lemon juice and zest come up to bring some freshness and balance.

This Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll is just what I like: a not-too-sweet dessert, a yeast bread actually, soft and tender, with a lovely lemon fragrance, some crunch from the nuts and the poppy seeds, some sweetness from honey and raisins.

As you could see, it takes a little bit of time to make, so, if you’re making it, be ready to spend a few hours in the kitchen. Even so, I can tell you right now it is well worth the time and effort. I’m so happy I chose it for the challenge!

Check out all the other wonderful Ukrainian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Making Miracles: Mazuricks
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Nalysnyky (Ukranian Crêpes)
Sugarlovespices (us!): Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk
Pandemonium Noshery: Ukrainian Pickled Tomatoes
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Galushki Soup
Literature and Limes: Oladi
Kitchen Frau: Buckwheat Kasha with Beef
DishntheKitchen: Sourdough Stuffed Beet Leaf Rolls
Sneha’s Recipe: Chicken Kiev-Serves Two#EattheWorld
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ukrainian Scuffles (Rohalyky)

Song the day: Rescue Me – OneRepublic 

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Ukranian Poppy Seed Roll-feature

Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 rolls 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: East European

Description

Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk, a lovely sweet yeast bread that I made with spelt flour, filled with poppy seed, walnuts, and raisins, for our monthly challenge, Eat The World. Not too sweet, flavored with honey, lemon zest, and juice, this Poppy Seed Roll is a delight to eat any time of the day.


Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg white, beaten (leave the yolk for the topping)

For the Dough:

  • 1 package dry yeast (17.5 g fresh yeast; or 7 g active dry yeast; 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup (62 ml) butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 1/2 cups spelt flour

For the Topping:

  • 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp water, to brush on top before baking

Instructions

For the Poppy Seeds:

  1. Cover poppy seeds with hot water and stir. Remove any impurities that float to the top. Let rest 30 minutes.  Drain on a sieve lined with  cheesecloth.  Let sit over a bowl to drain. You can squeeze the cheesecloth to remove excess water.
  2. Let them dry a bit, while you make the dough.

For the Dough:

  1. Pour warm water into a small bowl, stir in sugar, then sprinkle yeast on top.  Set aside to foam 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, or in the microwave, heat milk, then add butter to the hot milk and stir until butter is melted.  Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted the paddle (K) attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest.
  4. Slowly pour the lukewarm milk/butter mixture into the egg mixture until blended.
  5. Stir in the yeast and blend.
  6. Change the paddle attachment with the hook attachment. With the mixer on low (2), start adding the flour, 1 cup at a time, blending each cup before adding the next. After all the flour is in,  continue mixing at the same speed (2) for 15 minutes. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky.
  7. Oil a large bowl and roll the dough in it. Cover with a moistened dish towel or plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until double in size, 1 to 2 hours.  I always let my dough rest in the oven, turned off, with the light on.
  8. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and let it rise again for another 1 or so.

For the Filling:

  1. Crush the walnuts in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Chop the raisins. Set aside.
  2. Place a small amount of poppy seeds in mortar and pestle and crush. Repeat until all the poppy seeds are crushed. You can also use a coffee grinder. Grind in small batches.
  3. In a bowl, combine the ground poppy seeds, crushed walnuts, chopped raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and beaten egg white. Mix to make a smooth paste.

Assembly:

  1. After the resting time, divide the dough in two.  Leave one half covered and set aside​.
  2. Take the other half, place it on a floured surface (I use my wood board), sprinkle some flour on top and on the rolling pin, and roll it into a rectangular or oval shape, similar to a thin crust pizza dough.
  3. Line an extra-large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350° F (I used convection bake).
  4. Spread half of the filling on top of the rectangle of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border free from filling on each rectangle.  Roll up from the longer side, not too tight, and pinch the edges to seal.
  5. Repeat the same for the other half of the dough.
  6. Place them, seam side down, side-by-side on the lined baking sheet. Let them rise again, covered with a towel, for 40-45 minutes.
  7. After that time, brush the top with egg wash and cut few slits on top to allow steam to escape.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for  25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are a deep golden color.
  9. Let them cool slightly on the baking dish, then on a rack.
  10. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

You can freeze one, or a part of the poppy seed roll, once cooled, well wrapped in plastic. Try to use it within 1-2 months.

To save some time, you can purchase ground poppy seeds at Eastern European grocery stores.

You can omit walnuts and raisins, just replace it with more poppy seeds.

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10 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Wendy Klik October 10, 2019 at 9:30 am

    I have made the Polish version of this bread but it uses ap flour. I’m anxious to try this version with the spelt flour. I have some in my cupboard.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

      They all use all purpose flour, but I love using spelt flour and it made a lighter, more delicate crumb with additional flavor and nutrients. Hope you try it! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jane Saunders October 11, 2019 at 3:51 am

    So fantastic. Easy to follow instructions for this special bread.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 11, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Thank you! A classic revisited, so delicious!

  • Avatar
    Reply Betty Davies October 11, 2019 at 8:16 am

    I haven’t heard of this bread before but it looks and sounds delicious! It’s so perfect for a weekend baking project – thanks for sharing!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 11, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Thank you! It is a classic very popular yeast roll from Eastern Europe. Very delicious, definitely a labor of love 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Amy's Cooking Adventures October 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Your roll looks just lovely! How delicious!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 15, 2019 at 8:45 am

      Thank you, Amy! It was so delicious! A novelty for me, but would make it again and again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Margaret @ Kitchen Frau October 14, 2019 at 6:52 am

    This looks just like my mom’s poppy seed roll! I grew up on it and it’s absolutely delicious. I love your idea of using spelt flour to make it healthier and lighter.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 15, 2019 at 8:47 am

      So happy to hear that! It was new to me, but love it so much! Spelt flour makes it lighter and more digestible and I loved the added raisins and walnuts. Yum!

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