There is a group of food bloggers who call themselves the "Bread Baking Babes" (a.k.a. BBB) and they get together every month to bake bread, naturally, and I have been watching their monthly efforts for a while now. I guess my love for baking bread (and eating it too) isn't much of a secret and this month I am baking with them.
While the BBB membership is limited to the original members, they welcome anyone who would like to bake with them, following their chosen recipe and become what they call a "Bread Baking Buddy".
I'm not sure I would describe myself as a "babe", but a "buddy" I can most definitely be!
This month's challenge, chosen by Ilva of Lucullian Delights, is to bake Italian Bread Knots (Pane Di Pasta Tenera Condita). She chose this from Pane: Il Piacere di Preparare in Casa by Anna Gennari.
I followed the halved recipe used by another BBB, Lien of Notitie van Lien which I have re-posted here (my changes/ substitutions are within brackets throughout the recipe). The only flours I get here are all purpose and whole wheat flours, so I used all purpose flour. Since we are vegetarian, I substituted butter for lard.
I also found I required a little more flour than mentioned to make sure my dough was smooth, elastic and not sticky.
200 g normal bread flour (I used all purpose flour)
5 g fresh yeast or 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast (I used about 1/4 tsp active dry yeast)
170 ml water
Dissolve the yeast in a little water (warm) and quickly work the dough together.
Put it in a container, cover it with a half closed lid or kitchen towel and leave it for 15-24 hrs (overnight for about 12 hours).
250 g biga
500 g flour -type 00 (I used all purpose flour)
200-260 ml water, handwarm
15 g fresh yeast or 1 1/2 tsp dry instant yeast (I used 1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast)
25 g extra-virgin olive oil
30 g lard (I used chilled salted butter)
12 g honey
12 g salt
Put the flour either in a big bowl or on a baking board, add the lard (or chilled butter) and mix it with your fingers until it has 'crumbled' and is completely mixed with the flour.
Dissolve the yeast in little tepid water and add it to the flour. Mix as well as you can.
Mix salt, olive oil and honey with the handwarm water and add it to the flour. Now work it until it holds together and then add the biga.
Work the dough until it is smooth and doesn't stick.
Put it into a big bowl, cover it with plastic film and leave to rise until it has doubled.
Now take up the dough and divide it into 12 equal parts and roll them it into long strands (about 30-35 cm)
To make the knots:
1. Roll out the dough into even long strands and lay them out on a flat surface.
2. Make a semi-circle with the dough strands, and bring the ends towardsyou and cross them.
3. Then twist the two ends together a twice, like inthe photo, somewhat like when shaping a pretzel.
These rolls were very easy to make. Shaping the rolls took a little practice but wasn't too difficult. The rolls were a bit crusty with a very soft crumb and absolutely delicious. I would recommend trying out these rolls, and wouldn't be surprised if they became a family favourite.
Serve them with soup or make them into sandwiches, perhaps. Slather them with butter and jam or just eat them as they are, fresh from the oven, with a cup of coffee or tea. They're delicious whichever way you choose to eat them and if you have any leftovers, these rolls freeze very well.
These Italian knotted rolls are being YeastSpotted!
And here's my Bread Baking Buddy badge for the month.