This poppy seed roll or strudel recipe is made with a yeast dough and is known as makowiec (mah-KOH-vyets) in Polish. An Eastern European dessert table would invariably include something sweet made with poppy seeds, either ground or whole.
This recipe explains how to make the poppy seed filling from scratch. You will need a way to grind the poppy seeds. There are manual poppy and grain seed mills that will do the trick. You can instead use a clean electric coffee grinder or buy one labeled for grinding spices, nuts, and coffee. Another way to grind them is to use a food processor.
Canned poppy seed paste can be used for convenience. It is available in the ethnic aisle of most supermarkets or online. To substitute canned poppy seed paste, use two (12.5-ounce) cans for a total of 25 ounces of poppy seed filling.
- For the Dough:
- 1 package yeast (active dry)
- 2 cups milk (warm)
- 8 cups flour (all-purpose)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs (room temperature)
- 4 ounces butter (melted)
- For the Poppy Seed Filling:
- 1 pound poppy seeds (ground)
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 ounces butter (softened)
- 1 cup milk (hot)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this poppy seed roll recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Poppy Seed Filling
If making your own filling, grind the poppy seeds in a coffee, seed, or spice grinder or in your food processor.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 6 ounces butter, 1 cup hot milk, and lemon zest. Beat well. Add the ground poppy seeds, mix to combine, and set aside.
Make the Dough
In a small heatproof bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm milk.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and eggs. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups warm milk, 4 ounces butter, and the yeast mixture.
With the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat until smooth. The dough will be sticky at this point.
Scrape dough into a clean greased bowl. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and cover. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
Shape the Rolls and Bake
Punch down dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a rectangle.
Spread half of the filling on one rectangle of dough and the other half on the other rectangle. Roll each rectangle up like a jelly roll. Turn the ends under so the filling will not leak out.
Place the rolls on a parchment-lined or greased pan, cover and let rise again until double in size.
Heat oven to 350 F. Brush the tops of rolls with additional melted butter. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
Remove the rolls from the oven and cool. Dust rolls with powdered sugar, if desired.
Cut the rolls into half-inch slices and enjoy!