Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll (Authentic Traditional Recipe) (2024)

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Looking for a dessert that's as delicious as it is unique? Look no further than this Poppy Seed Roll recipe. The soft, fluffy roll is filled with a creamy, flavorful poppy seed filling, making each bite a delightful surprise. The golden brown crust adds a touch of crunch, creating a great contrast of textures.

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Try this delicious Makowiec (Ukrainian poppy seed roll) recipe, and you’ll end up with delicious poppy seed rolls that taste traditional, authentic, and absolutely delicious. These rolls are a great option if you're looking to try your hand at baking something a little different.

This recipe is really special to me since it’s a traditional recipe that has been handed down to my family for generations. I have personally been making it for more than twenty years, and it comes out delicious every time.

It’s definitely one of my family’s absolute favorites, and it’s about to become yours too! What’s best is that this recipe is incredibly easy to make and is perfect for anyone baking for the first time.

Want to learn how to make this poppy seed roll recipe? Then keep on reading.

What is Poppy Seed Roll?

Poppy seed roll is a traditional Eastern European dessert that is both delicious and comforting. This recipe involves a soft, sweet yeast dough that is rolled around a rich poppy seed filling. It’s known as Makowiec and is traditionally Ukrainian.

The result is a beautiful, golden brown roll with a distinctive and delightful flavor. It is a favorite during the holiday season, but it is also perfect for any celebratory occasion or just as a treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Another name for this roll is Makowiec. Its popularity in Ukraine is something akin to the cinnamon roll here in America. This sweet bread is absolutely delicious, pillow-soft, and packed with flavor.

Making this recipe at home is a rewarding experience. Not only will you get to enjoy the process of baking, but will achieve a delicious, homemade dessert as an end result. Whether you're an experienced baker or just starting out, this poppy seed roll recipe is definitely worth trying.

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What Makes This Poppy Seed Roll Recipe Special?

  • Easy to make: The steps in this poppy seed roll recipe are simple and straightforward, making it an easy task even for beginners in the kitchen. From preparing the yeast mixture to the final baking, each step is clearly outlined for hassle-free baking.
  • Family-favorite: This recipe has been handed down for generations, making it a tried and tested family-favorite. Its delightful taste and comforting aroma have been loved by my family for decades, and it’s sure to be a hit in yours too.
  • Versatile: The poppy seed filling in this recipe can be easily swapped out for your favorite fillings. Whether you're a fan of sweet cinnamon, tangy lemon zest, or crunchy almonds, this recipe is versatile enough to accommodate your preferences.
  • Delicious: There's something undeniably irresistible about the combination of a soft, fluffy dough with a sweet, nutty filling. This poppy seed roll is not just delicious, it is a treat for the senses.
  • Crowd Pleaser: Perfect for family gatherings, parties, or just a regular day at home, these poppy seed rolls are a surefire crowd pleaser. They're not just tasty, but also a feast for the eyes, making them a perfect centerpiece for any table.

What You Need to Make Poppy Seed Roll at Home

All you need are some simple pantry staple ingredients to make this poppy seed roll recipe at home. Let's look at them in more detail:

For the Poppy Seed Roll Dough:

  • Whole Milk: The milk in this recipe is used to activate the yeast and add moisture to the dough. It also gives the poppy seed rolls a rich and creamy taste.
  • Sugar: Sugar is used to sweeten the dough and the poppy seed filling. It also helps in browning the rolls in the oven.
  • Dry Yeast: Yeast is a crucial ingredient in this recipe. It makes the dough rise and gives the poppy seed rolls their fluffy texture.
  • Eggs: Eggs are used in both the dough and the poppy seed filling. They add richness and help bind the ingredients together.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds a lovely, sweet aroma to the rolls and enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Sea Salt: A pinch of salt balances out the sweetness and brings out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Unsalted Butter: Butter gives the dough a rich, buttery flavor and a tender crumb.
  • Mayonnaise: An unusual ingredient in a sweet roll recipe, but it makes the dough incredibly soft and moist. Homemade mayonnaise gives the best results!
  • All-Purpose Flour: This is the main ingredient in the dough. It gives the poppy seed rolls their structure.
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For the Poppy Seed Filling and Topping:

  • Poppy Seed Butter: This is the star ingredient of the filling. It gives the rolls their distinctive taste and appearance. I purchase poppy seed butter at a European store; this looks similar to it, but I have never tried it or a poppy seed blend (raisins, poppy seeds, orange peel, and nuts).
  • Dry Poppy Seeds: These are sprinkled on top of the rolls before baking, adding a nice crunch and visual appeal.
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How to Make Poppy Seed Roll (Step-by-Step)

Making this incredible poppy seed roll is easier than you think. Here's how to make them at home step by step:

How to Make the Poppy Seed Roll Dough

To start, we'll need to activate our yeast. In a small bowl, add warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir them together until both sugar and yeast are dissolved. Set this aside for a few minutes to let the yeast wake up and start working.

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While waiting for the yeast, melt the butter. Once it's melted, let it cool down a bit before stirring in the mayonnaise. This will ensure that the mayo doesn't separate due to the heat. Let this mixture sit until you're ready to use it.

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Next up, we're going to beat the eggs and sugar until they're foamy and pale. This should take about five minutes on high speed. As the mixer is running, add in the salt and vanilla for flavor.

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Now, reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly pour in the butter and mayo mixture, followed by the yeast mixture.

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Switch to the dough hook attachment at this point and start adding sifted flour, half a cup at a time. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure an even mix.

Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need slightly more or less flour. The perfect dough should be soft, but not sticky to the touch.

Once your dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (poke a few holes in it to allow the dough to breathe) and leave it in a warm spot to rise for about an hour. You'll know it's ready when it has tripled in size.

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How to Assemble Poppy Seed Rolls

When the dough has risen sufficiently, transfer it to a well-floured work surface. I recommend using a large cutting board. To keep the board from slipping, place a damp washcloth underneath it.

Shape the dough into a log and divide it into three equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a square of about a quarter-inch thickness.

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Now it's time to spread the poppyseed filling. Make sure it's at room temperature for easy spreading. If it's too thick, you can dilute it with warm water, milk, or juice.

Roll up your dough tightly into a log and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process for the remaining dough pieces.

Cover the baking sheet with a clean, dry towel and let the rolls proof for about half an hour. If you have two ovens, you can use one for proofing and the other for baking.

Just warm one oven to about a hundred degrees, turn it off, and place the rolls inside to proof. Meanwhile, preheat the second oven to bake the rolls.

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How to Bake Poppy Seed Rolls

Before you bake the rolls, beat an egg in a small bowl and brush each roll with the egg wash. You can also sprinkle some dry poppy seeds on top. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for about thirty minutes. If you prefer your rolls to be a bit darker, you can extend the baking time to forty minutes.

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Don't worry if the rolls crack a bit on one side during baking or if the tops crinkle slightly once they've cooled. This is completely normal and doesn't affect the taste.

Once the rolls have cooled to room temperature, you can slice and enjoy them with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk. Enjoy your homemade poppy seed rolls!

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Tips for Making the Best Poppy Seed Roll Ever

  • Activate the yeast properly: Make sure that your milk is warm, not hot, before adding the yeast and sugar. This will create the perfect environment for the yeast to activate, helping your dough rise beautifully.
  • Use room temperature ingredients: Make sure your butter, eggs, and poppy seed butter are at room temperature before mixing. This will guarantee a smoother, more even mixture and help your dough rise properly.
  • Don't rush the dough: After mixing your dough, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour. Giving the dough enough time to rise will result in a softer and fluffier poppy seed roll.
  • Roll out your dough evenly: Use a rolling pin to roll your dough into a uniform rectangle. This will help guarantee that your poppy seed rolls bake evenly and have a consistent texture throughout.
  • Proof before baking: Allow your poppy seed rolls to proof for around half an hour before baking. This second rise will give your rolls a lighter texture and a better rise in the oven.
  • Bake until golden brown: Bake your poppy seed rolls until they are a lovely golden brown color. This not only makes them look appetizing but also guarantees that they are cooked through.
  • Brush with egg wash: For a glossy finish, brush your rolls with a beaten egg before baking. This will give them a beautiful shine and make them look bakery-worthy!

Serving Suggestions for Poppy Seed Roll

  • Start your day on a sweet note by enjoying a slice of poppy seed roll with your morning coffee. The rich, nutty flavor of the poppy seeds paired with the sweetness of the dough will make your taste buds dance.
  • Looking for a delicious dessert? Serve a slice of this poppy seed roll with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrast between the cold ice cream and the warm, baked roll is simply divine.
  • Turn your afternoon tea into a delicious treat by serving this poppy seed roll. Whether you prefer black tea, green tea, or a fruity infusion, the roll's sweet and nutty flavors will be a perfect match.
  • If you're in the mood for a savory and sweet combination, try serving slices of poppy seed roll with a selection of cheeses. The creaminess of the cheese combined with the sweet, nutty roll is a pairing you won't forget.
  • Hosting a dinner party? Use slices of poppy seed roll as a unique alternative to dinner rolls. The poppy seed filling will add an unexpected twist that your guests will love.
  • For a grab-and-go breakfast, wrap a slice of poppy seed roll in a napkin. The roll's hearty dough and flavorful filling will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

Recipe Variation Ideas for Poppy Seed Roll

This delicious poppy seed roll recipe is absolutely perfect as is, but if you're looking to change things up, here are a few variation ideas you can try:

  • Add a Lemon Twist: If you enjoy a tangy twist to your sweet treats, this variation is a must-try. Incorporate a tablespoon of lemon zest and a splash of lemon juice into your poppy seed filling. This will infuse your poppy seed rolls with a refreshing citrusy note that perfectly balances the sweetness.
  • Add Warm Spices: For those who enjoy their desserts with a hint of warmth, try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg to your poppy seed filling. These spices will add a delightful warmth and complexity to your rolls, taking them to another level of deliciousness.
  • Add Nuts: If you're a nut lover, this variation is for you. Add a handful of crushed almonds to the poppy seed filling for a delightful crunch. The addition of almonds not only boosts the texture but also compliments the poppy seeds with its rich, nutty flavor.
  • Sweeten with Honey: For natural sweetness, replace the sugar in the poppy seed filling with honey. The honey will give your poppy seed rolls a mild, floral sweetness that's less intense than regular sugar, making it a perfect variation for those who prefer less sweet desserts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute the poppy seed butter with something else?

Yes, you can substitute poppy seed butter with other seed or nut butters if you prefer. However, keep in mind that it will alter the traditional taste of these poppy seed rolls.

Can I use a standing mixer to knead the dough?

Absolutely, using a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment can make the kneading process much easier. However, you can also knead the dough by hand if you don't have a mixer.

Do I need to use parchment paper on the baking sheet?

Yes, using parchment paper on your baking sheet will prevent the rolls from sticking to the sheet and make clean-up much easier.

What should be the color of the rolls when they're done baking?

The rolls should have a beautiful golden brown color when they're done baking. If they are too light, they might need a few more minutes in the oven.

Can I use a different type of flour instead of all-purpose flour?

Yes, you can use bread flour or whole wheat flour, but it will change the texture of the rolls. All-purpose flour gives the best results for this recipe.

What can I do if the dough is too sticky?

If the dough is too sticky, you can add a bit more flour, a little at a time, until it reaches the right consistency. It should be soft but not sticky to the touch.

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How to Store Leftover Poppy Seed Roll

After enjoying this delicious poppy seed roll recipe, you might find yourself with leftovers. No worries! Storing and reheating this treat is quite simple.

To store in the fridge, wrap your leftover poppy seed rolls in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. They will keep in the fridge for up to a week. The butter and poppy seed filling will help keep the dough moist over this time.

Fortunately, these poppy seed rolls freeze well! To freeze, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to enjoy one, just take it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature.

To reheat your poppy seed roll, preheat your oven to a low temperature (around the same temperature you used to bake them originally) and place the roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Heat for about ten minutes or until it is warmed through. If you're reheating a roll that was frozen, let it thaw completely before following these reheating steps.

If this recipe is too big for your family size, the good news is that this recipe is freezer-friendly. Cut the cooled rolls into preferred portions, wrap each piece in plastic food wrap (or place into individualized Ziploc bags), and place into a freezer container. Freeze up to 3 months.

To thaw, leave it wrapped on a countertop or pantry. Warm a slice in a toaster oven if you prefer it warm, as I do. And enjoy!

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Recipe Card

Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll (Authentic Traditional Recipe)

Valya's Taste of Home

This traditional Poppy Seed Roll recipe will give you authentic Ukrainian Makowiec that are soft, fluffy, and absolutely delicious! Super easy to make too!

4.67 from 6 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 1 hour hr 45 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

14 minutes mins

Total Time 2 hours hrs 29 minutes mins

Course Bread

Cuisine American

Servings 3 rolls

Ingredients

For the Poppy Seed Roll Batter

  • 1.5 cups – organic whole milk
  • ¼ cup – organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon – dry yeast
  • 5 large – eggs
  • ¾ cups – organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon – pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon – sea salt
  • 4 oz. – unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup – mayonnaise (I used homemade mayonnaise)
  • 6 cups – organic all-purpose flour

For the Poppy Seed Roll Filling and Tipping

  • 16 oz. – poppy seed butter
  • 1 - egg
  • 1 tbsp. – dry poppy seeds

Read More

Instructions

How to Make the Poppy Seed Roll Dough

  • To start, we'll need to activate our yeast. In a small bowl, add warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir them together until both sugar and yeast are dissolved. Set this aside for a few minutes to let the yeast wake up and start working.

  • While waiting for the yeast, melt the butter. Once it's melted, let it cool down a bit before stirring in the mayonnaise. This will ensure that the mayo doesn't separate due to the heat. Let this mixture sit until you're ready to use it.

  • Next up, we're going to beat the eggs and sugar until they're foamy and pale. This should take about five minutes on high speed. As the mixer is running, add in the salt and vanilla for flavor.

  • Now, reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly pour in the butter and mayo mixture, followed by the yeast mixture.

  • Switch to the dough hook attachment at this point and start adding sifted flour, half a cup at a time. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure an even mix.

  • Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need slightly more or less flour. The perfect dough should be soft, but not sticky to the touch.

  • Once your dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (poke a few holes in it to allow the dough to breathe) and leave it in a warm spot to rise for about an hour. You'll know it's ready when it has tripled in size.

How to Assemble Poppy Seed Rolls

  • When the dough has risen sufficiently, transfer it to a well-floured work surface. I recommend using a large cutting board. To keep the board from slipping, place a damp washcloth underneath it.

  • Shape the dough into a log and divide it into three equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a square of about a quarter-inch thickness.

  • Now it's time to spread the poppyseed filling. Make sure it's at room temperature for easy spreading. If it's too thick, you can dilute it with warm water, milk, or juice.

  • Roll up your dough tightly into a log and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process for the remaining dough pieces.

  • Cover the baking sheet with a clean, dry towel and let the rolls proof for about half an hour. If you have two ovens, you can use one for proofing and the other for baking.

  • Just warm one oven to about a hundred degrees, turn it off, and place the rolls inside to proof. Meanwhile, preheat the second oven to bake the rolls.

How to Bake Poppy Seed Rolls

  • Before you bake the rolls, beat an egg in a small bowl and brush each roll with the egg wash. You can also sprinkle some dry poppy seeds on top. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for about thirty minutes. If you prefer your rolls to be a bit darker, you can extend the baking time to forty minutes.

  • Don't worry if the rolls crack a bit on one side during baking or if the tops crinkle slightly once they've cooled. This is completely normal and doesn't affect the taste.

  • Once the rolls have cooled to room temperature, you can slice and enjoy them with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk. Enjoy your homemade poppy seed rolls!

Notes

If this recipe is too big for your family size, the good news is that this recipe is freezer friendly. Cut the cooled rolls into preferred portions, wrap each piece in plastic food wrap (or place into individualized Ziploc bags) and place into a freezer container. Freeze up to 3 months.
To thaw, leave it wrapped on a countertop or pantry. Warm a slice in a toaster oven if you prefer it warm, as I do. And enjoy!

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Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll (Authentic Traditional Recipe) (2024)
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