Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Baking Biscotti Picanti with the Bread Baking Babes

Happy Anniversary to the Bread Baking Babes!  For their 4th Anniversary celebration, the Bread Baking Babes made Biscotti Picanti. This savory biscotti sounded so good that I wanted to join in the baking fun again this month. 

Biscotti Picanti (also known as Sicilian Spicy Rusks) is a very addictive snack bread. I can see why Lien chose this as the anniversary bread. I’ve been enjoying it plain and dipped in homemade marinara.



Biscotti is twice-baked bread and this delicious biscotti is made with all-purpose and semolina flours and flavored with dry white wine, white sesame seeds, anise seed and olive oil. Oh my goodness!  I told my taste tester I would save him some, but I’m having a hard time keeping my promise. 


Biscotti Picanti (Sicilian Spicy Rusks)

Makes: About 36 rusks (depending on how thin you cut them)

Check out Lien's post for more details.

The recipe is from Anissa Helou's Savory Baking from the Mediterranean. She graciously gave us permission to feature it on our blogs.


  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package = 7 grams)  I used instant
  • 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



Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup/60 ml warm water and stir until creamy. I used instant yeast so I skipped this part. I added the yeast to the dry ingredients and the additional 1/4 cup water with the liquid ingredients.

Combine flours, aniseed, sesame seeds, yeast, 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.





Add wine and 3/4 cup (115 ml) warm water and 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).





Divide the dough in 3 equal pieces.





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 the rise for about 45 minutes.



Meanwhile preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC. 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.



Thanks Lien for choosing this delicious biscotti.  It’s definitely a keeper.  Well, that is, if it lasts long enough to keep around.  It didn’t around my house.

BBBuddies feb 2012 (4 year anniversary) klein


Happy Baking!


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