Tag Archive | Italian baking

It’s a Kneady Time of the Year

Few things in life are more comforting during cool, crispy weather than fluffy socks, soft lounge-wear, favorite background music (Beatles, Michael Buble, Rod Stewart, Ed Sheeran for me) and the scent of freshly baked goods.

 

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ITALIAN BUNS

This warm and cozy bread recipe will guarantee that you’ll be
complimented on your hot buns.

 

 

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 3 TBSP water (tepid at 100 – 110 F)
  • 3/4 tsp. honey
  • 2 cups bread flour (if you don’t have bread flour, you can use all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 TBSP. olive oil (plus more for brushing)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add water and honey to a small bowl, and stir so that the honey is incorporated with the water, then sprinkle the yeast on top of water, and let set for 5 minutes (or until yeast has foamed). Stir well.
  2. Add flour and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk together, then make a well in the middle. If you don’t have a stand mixer, do the exact same thing, using a large bowl.
  3. Add the water, honey, yeast mixture to the middle of the flour mixture.
  4. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and turn on medium, and let it knead until the dough forms a ball. If there is dough on the sides, simply scrape it off and let it continue kneading for 10 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, then knead with your hands on a floured board and knead. About 15 minutes.


    NOTE: Here is how you can check if your dough needs more kneading.
    Indent the dough with your fingertip, if the indentation fills back quickly, you’re dough has been kneaded enough and you’re ready to let it rise.

    If it stays looking like a deep dimple, continue kneading.

  5. Lightly oil (with olive oil) a large bowl, then form the dough into a ball, then roll the dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free area for 1.5 – 2 hours, the dough should be doubled in bulk.

    NOTE: I let the dough rise in the oven with the oven light on.

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then punch down the dough, form the dough into 12 balls, keeping the rest of the dough covered as you form the balls
  7. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free area for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
  8. Preheat oven to 400F
  9. Brush each dough ball with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. The buns should be golden, and you can tell if they are cooked by tapping the bottom of the bun—it should sound hollow.
  10. Once baked, remove from oven and put on a cooling rack. Can be enjoyed cooled or warm.

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Italian lovin’ from the oven.

Italian.
Sexy.
Sweet.
Hot.
Fresh.
Dunkable.
Nutty.

All words to describe my never-feel-guilty-pleasure.

I’m talking about homemade biscotti of course.

What? Did you think I was talking about my other never-feel-guilty for watching Antonio Cupo in a movie pleasure?

Pistachio-Almond-Orange Biscotti

BISCOTTI-2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 TBSP vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 large orange, zested
*** Your choice here: 1.5 ounces Orange Brandy – or – 1.5 ounces of the juice from the orange
3 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 TBSP sifted baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup un-salted, peeled pistachio
1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP water (for egg wash)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, beat one egg and add 1 TBSP water, set aside. You’ll use this at the end.
  4. In a bowl, beat the following ingredients with a whisk until they are all well blended: oil, 3 eggs, vanilla, sugar, orange zest, (brandy or the orange juice, whichever you chose to use).
  5. In a separate bowl add all the following ingredients and mix together so that the nuts are evenly coated: flour, baking powder, salt, almonds, pistachios
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the egg/oil bowl mixture, and blend until you get a sticky smooth dough. Be careful not to mix too much, as you don’t want a cake consistency. If you feel the mixture is too dry, add a bit of the juice from the orange, until you get a sticky dough.
  7. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and also on your hands.
  8. Add the dough onto your work surface and divide dough into four equal balls.
  9. Add two of the dough balls on your cookie sheet, using your hands, press down until they are about 1/2 inch in thickness.
  10. Brush the top of each dough with your egg wash. A light coating. This is optional: You can sprinkle some sugar on top of each.
  11. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, they should be a light golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and put them on a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. In the meantime, put the other two balls of dough onto your cookie sheet and repeat steps 9 to 12.
  13. Once they are cooled, slice them into 1/2 inch slices, crosswise.
  14. Put the sliced cookies on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
  15. The second bake will depend on how crispy you’d like them. If you want them to be real hard, that they need to be dunked into hot coffee/tea, then you’d bake them longer. But if you are looking for a nice crunch, not too soft or not too hard, then 5 – 10 minutes is good.

If you have any questions about this recipe, please feel free to comment here and I’ll get back to you.

 

Buon Appetito!

BISCOTTI

 

I’m always excited when a blog follower downloads a recipe and gives me feedback. I am especially tickled, when they send me pictures and let me know how much they enjoyed the process and the fruits (or in this case, cookies) of their labour.

Thank you to Nancy Bristow for sending me the following pictures. She had fun baking these biscotti’s, and is planning on making more.

Here is a collage of her biscotti making adventure.

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