poppy seed roll from the top
Breads and Rolls

Poppy Seed Roll – As good as your Grandma’s!

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This traditional Slavic poppy seed roll recipe is the one dessert that my husband repeatedly asks me to make. The dough is so tender and easy to make, and this recipe does not skimp on the filling! The zesty dough and filling take your taste buds to nostalgic teatimes with your grandma. You will want to make this poppy seed roll recipe again and again!

Prepare the filling

Ideally you would want to start preparing the poppy seed roll filling the night before, or at least a few hours before. If you don’t have time, you can start with the filling before moving onto the dough portion. It will still turn be delicious!

  1. Coarsely grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender. You want to break up most of the seeds, but not all of them so that you still keep some of the texture.
  1. Place the poppy seeds in a large bowl and pour boiling water over top. Let them sit in the boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain through a cheesecloth lined colander or sieve. Air dry in the cheesecloth by tying all the corners together and hanging on a kitchen cabinet door over a bowl. You can also hang it on your kitchen faucet over the sink overnight. Leave to dry overnight (ideally) or for at least 1 hour.
  1. Pour the boiling milk over the poppy seeds in a bowl. Add the cold butter, stir until melted. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge until dough is ready for rolling.
poppy seed roll cross section

Prepare the dough

  1. To dissolve the yeast, pour ½ cup warm milk and 1 tsp sugar into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir with a whisk until dissolved. The milk should be warm to the touch, be careful to not have it too hot (around 45°C or 115°F is ideal).
  1. Leave the yeast to bloom and to double in size, this should take around 10 minutes. If it doesn’t increase in volume, the yeast may be inactive, and you will have to try with another packet.
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the well. Mix with a large spoon then transition to mixing with your hands. Mix until a soft dough forms and knead very briefly until the mixture stops sticking to the bowl, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to over-knead so the dough stays soft. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm area to rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  1. Prepare a 9″ by 13″ (or larger) baking pan by lining with parchment paper.
  1. Punch down the dough and divide in half. This recipe makes 2 poppy seed rolls. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough out into a large rectangle, about ½ cm thick. Spoon half of the filling onto the dough and spread, leaving a 5 cm strip on one of the long edges. Roll the rectangle up, starting at the long edge, working your way to the edge without the filling. This way you get a good seam and there is less chance of the filling leaking in the oven. Pinch and fold in the edges.  Carefully transfer the roll onto your prepared baking pan, making sure the seams are on the bottom of the roll.
  1. Repeat with the second half of your dough and filling.
  1. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until doubled (or almost doubled) in size.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  1. Prepare the egg wash mixture by whisking together the egg and milk. Brush the tops of rolls with the mixture. Slash the tops of the rolls about 0.5 cm deep with a knife.
  1. Bake at 180°C (350°F). for 45-50 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 40 minutes. The top should be golden brown.
  1. Let cool in the pan, cut into 2 cm thick slices and serve!
poppy seed roll on baking sheet

Tips for success

  • Let the dough rise in a warm area. I usually turn my oven on the lowest temperature setting and turn it off a minute before placing the dough in the oven. That way my oven temperature is around 30°C (85°F). Keep an eye on your dough if it rises faster than you think! As soon as it approximately doubles in size, continue with the next step.  
  • Do not over knead: this ensures that the dough stays soft and moist after baking. The gluten doesn’t have time to overdevelop resulting in a more tender, less bread-like dough. I found that one minute of kneading was enough time to incorporate all the ingredients and to develop enough gluten.
  • Fill your rolls with as much filling as you can, but if not all of it makes it inside, that’s ok! Just heat up the leftover filling in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until thickened slightly. Now you have a delicious poppy seed spread to put on bread, bagels, pancakes…
  • Keep the poppy seed rolls wrapped or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Because this makes 2 large rolls, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight bag or container for up to a month. If you freeze shortly after baking, the poppy seed rolls will taste just as fresh as if you just baked them.

Happy baking! xx

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poppy seed roll from the top

Poppyseed Roll

Mary
This recipe makes the most tender and flavourful poppy seed roll. The dough is so effortless to make, without skimping on the delicious zesty filling! This comprehensive recipe is very easy to follow with troubleshooting tips along the way.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Polish, Russian, Slavic, Ukrainian
Servings 2 large rolls

Equipment

  • 18" by 24" baking sheet, or 2 large baking sheets

Ingredients
  

Poppy seed filling

  • 2 cups poppy seed
  • ¾ cup hot boiling milk
  • cup cold butter cut into small cubes
  • cup sugar
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Grated rind of 1 orange or lemon
  • ¾ cup chopped raisins
  • cup chopped almonds
  • 1 egg
  • cup breadcrumbs

Dough

  • ½ cup warm milk + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 3 ⅔ cup all purpose white flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cup butter softened
  • 1 egg whisked with a fork
  • cup warm milk
  • 1 orange zest, grated (or grated lemon zest)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

Filling

  • Ideally do this step the day before
    Prepare the poppy seeds: Coarsely grind the seeds in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender. Place the poppy seeds in a large bowl and pour boiling water over top. Let them sit in the boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain through cheesecloth. Air dry in the cheesecloth by tying all the corners together and hanging it over a bowl. Leave overnight (ideally) or for at least 1 hour.
    2 cups poppy seed
  • Combine all ingredients: Pour the boiling milk over the poppy seeds in a bowl. Add the cold butter, stir until melted. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge until dough is ready for rolling.
    ¾ cup hot boiling milk, ⅓ cup cold butter, ⅔ cup sugar, ½ tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla extract, Grated rind of 1 orange, ¾ cup chopped raisins, ⅔ cup chopped almonds, 1 egg, ⅓ cup breadcrumbs

Dough

  • Dissolve the yeast: Pour ½ cup warm milk and 1 tsp sugar into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir with a whisk until dissolved. The milk should be warm to the touch; around 45°C or 115°F is ideal. Leave the yeast to bloom and to double in size, this should take around 10 minutes. If it doesn’t increase in volume, the yeast may be inactive, and you will have to try with another packet.
    ½ cup warm milk + 1 tsp sugar, 1 packet yeast
  • Create the dough: Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the well. Mix with a large spoon then transition to mixing with your hands. Mix until a soft dough forms and knead very briefly until the mixture stops sticking to the bowl, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to over-knead so the dough stays soft. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm area to rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
    3 ⅔ cup all purpose white flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup butter, 1 egg, ⅔ cup warm milk, 1 orange zest, grated, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Prepare an 18" by 23" baking pan (or 2 smaller ones) by lining with parchment paper.
  • Make the rolls: Punch down the dough and divide in half. This recipe makes 2 rolls. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough out into a large rectangle, about ½ cm thick. Spoon half of the filling onto the dough and spread, leaving a 5 cm strip on one of the long edges. Roll the rectangle up, starting at the long edge, working your way to the edge without the filling. This way you get a good seam and there is less chance of the filling leaking in the oven. Pinch and fold in the edges. Carefully transfer the roll onto your prepared baking pan, making sure the seams are on the bottom of the roll.
  • Repeat with the second half of your dough and filling.
  • Let rise one last time: Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until doubled (or almost doubled) in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Egg wash: Prepare the egg wash mixture by whisking together the egg and milk. Brush the tops of rolls °with the mixture. Slash the tops of the rolls about 0.5 cm deep with a knife.
    1 egg, 2 tbsp milk
  • Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 45-50 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 40 minutes. The top should be golden brown.
  • Serve: Let cool in the pan, cut into 2 cm thick slices and enjoy!

Notes

  • Let the dough rise in a warm area. I usually turn my oven on the lowest temperature setting and turn it off a minute before placing the dough in the oven. That way my oven temperature is around 30°C (85°F). Keep an eye on your dough if it rises faster than you think! As soon as it approximately doubles in size, continue with the next step.
  • Do not over knead: this crucial point ensures that the dough stays soft and moist after baking. The gluten doesn’t have time to overdevelop resulting in a more tender, less bread-like dough. I found that one minute of kneading was enough time to incorporate all the ingredients and to develop enough gluten.
  • Fill your rolls with as much filling as you can. If not all of it makes it inside, that’s ok! Just heat up the leftover filling in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until thickened slightly. Now you have a delicious poppy seed spread to put on bread, bagels, pancakes…
  • Keep the poppy seed rolls wrapped or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Because this makes 2 large rolls, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight bag or container for up to a month. If you freeze shortly after baking, the poppy seed rolls will taste just as fresh as if you just baked them.
Keyword easy, Fall, Moist, poppyseed, zesty

Recipe adapted from Food.com

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