Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bread Baking Babes bake Biscotti Picanti

Celebrating four fabulous years being a Babe! We’re back for our February installment and Lien as our Kitchen of the Month thought Biscotti Picanti was just the thing to bake and celebrate.
Don’t be mistaken, we are not going to bake cookies, but a twice baked bread to enjoy with a glass of wine or a little cheese. The recipe originally comes from Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou (who graciously granted us permission to use her recipe on our blogs. Thanks Anissa! You can find Anissa on her blog here!)
Our Babes did all kind of varieties, using red wine, adding cheese, replacing aniseed with you name it…
So: Adding wine, crisp, pepper and salt to the mix, doused with a little aniseed sweetness.. isn’t that just what Babes are made of? Yeah we thought so! It’s Party time with the Babes so get out a bottle (or two..) and your yeast because that’s what you need to bake this:

Biscotti Picanti
(adapted from: “Savory baking from the Mediterranean” - Anissa Helou)

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package = 7 grams)
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water
1 ⅔ (± 225-255 g) cups AP-flour (+ extra for kneading and shaping)
1 ⅔ (240 g) cups semolina flour
¼ cups (25 g) aniseed
3 TBsp (28 g) white sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup + 2 TBsp (150 ml/130 g) extra-virgin olive oil (+ extra for greasing the bowl)
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
115 ml water
1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup/60 ml warm water and stir until creamy.

2. Combine flours, aniseed, sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the olive oil in the well and rub into the flour with your fingertips until well incorporated.

3. Add yeast, wine and ½ cup (115 ml) warm water en knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough. Knead this for another 3-5 minutes or so. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for another 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered with greased plastic, for 1 hour in a warm place (or until doubled).

IMG_40384. Divide the dough in 3 equal pieces and shape each piece into a loaf about 12”( 30 cm) long. Transfer the logs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and leaving at least 2 inches/5 cm between them so they can expand. Take a dough cutter (or sharp knife) and cut the loaves into 1 inch/2,5 cm thick slices (or if you prefer them thinner in 1"/1 cm slices). Cover with greased plastic and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.

5. Bake the sliced loaves for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 175ºF/80ºC.
Separate the slices and turn so that they lie flat on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, or until golden brown and completely hardened (if not totally hardened, return to the turned off oven to let them dry more).Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.IMG_4063 My notes:
-  Of course I didn’t use water in this recipe.. In true Babe fashion I just tipped my bottle of leftover Prosecco (don’t ask. I don’t know why there was any left over) and used all wine instead of water and wine. 
-  Next time I think I will add a bit of cheese in the dough and replace the aniseed with chili flakes or something similar.
- I just LOVE the texture of these “rusks” lovely crunchy crumbly and soft at the same time, in Dutch we would call it very very “bros” and I can’t think of a word in English.
- Guests loved them topped with a little french cheese and their glass of wine
- My kids dipped them in their soup…
- Do slice them prior to baking (contrary to baking sweet biscotti but it does work!) and then it’s very easy to pull them apart and bake off.
- This dough works wonders for chapped dry hands… Olive oil!!
- Next time I will shape my logs skinnier and -thus- longer, my slices were quite thick and wide.IMG_4065
The Bread Baking Babes
Last, but not least, be a Buddy by baking these, and then sending a photo and description of your baking experience via E-MAIL to Lien at notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com by February 29th to be included in the round-up and receive a Buddy Badge. If you have a blog would you please consider adding a link to Anissa's blog as well? Credit where credit is due and such! Thanks. Looking forward to seeing your take on this delicious snack.


  1. They look perfect! Just wonderful. I love your ideas for next time, and I think I will experiment a bit too.

  2. Yes I have to bake these with cheese and then some with roasted garlic! These are the perfect party fare! Really like the 3 sliced loaves photo! and all the blue and the alphabet!! ho ho.
    Happy Anniversary to us all, Babes and Buddies!

  3. Did someone just say roasted garlic?? Yowzer!

  4. Ha!! I love the letters!

    Roasted garlic? Now there's an idea!

  5. Love the full amount of liquid being all wine...we are the Babes after all! Lovely biscotti. Sounds like the next version will include cheese...and maybe roasted garlic!

  6. I can't wait to try these!

  7. Yes BROS indeed!! You're biscotti look so good. I love the pictures with the light blue colours... and I instantly fell in love with those bowls. Happy Anniversary!

  8. Happy Anniversary! I think a bit of Parma ham would be good... and a glass of red.

  9. This bread sounds like it could be a great addition to some cheese or a beverage. Thank you for posting your recipe as well providing some additional notes.

  10. Skinnier? But I love the plump shape of yours!

    1. You know Susan? I think you are right, plump needs to be the new skinny! ;-D


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