May 25, 2009

Italian Bread Knots (Pane Di Pasta Tenera Condita)

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.

4. Now lift the upperpart of the circle and bring it towards you, folding it over the twisted part.

5. Tuck the two ends of the twisted part under the knot carefully, while lifting the roll from the working surface. This will make the knot part more prominent and it hides the ends.

Put the knots on baking sheets and leave to rise (covered) until they have doubled in size (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Bake in a 200°C/390°F (I baked at 210C for 30 minutes) for 25-35 minutes until golden brown.


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.


Happy cook said...

2 days back i printed this from Liens places seeing how she made them.
Yours looks really yummy and perfect too.

Pavithra said...

Thats looking so lovely and perfect.. love to try this soon.

Manggy said...

I say to your suggestions:
:) I'm getting a little hungry thinking about what I can do with them right now! :)

Parita said...

Wow these looks just perfect :)

Swapna said...

Really delicious and perfect knots Aparna!

Cham said...

U really have a bread baking passion! U ve done it beautifully!

jayasri said...

They look so lovely, seeing ur blog i have also become an addict for baking breads, i have not reached ur place still, i am on my first step, i want to try until i get right..., this one looks delicious and with perfect knots step by step instruction aparna......

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Just looks perfect.

Prathibha said...

They look just perfect Aparna...

Rhapsody said...

hmmmmm, that reminds me i have to buy flour to bake bread. I wonder what kind I will make next time. hmmmmm, the possibility are endless. Thanks for sharing

Lien said...

How wonderful Aparna, they look fantastic. So glad you could make it!They are delicious aren't they, they'll become favorite here too (baked them 3 times already). Thanks for baking with us :-)

di_ani said...

This looks wonderful!
Thanks for the recipe!
Please take a prize from me:

I will be glad and happy drowning submit

jayasree said...

Looks delicious with perfect knots.

Alka said...

looks so perfect.absolutely lovely !

Curry Leaf said...

Perfect Aparna,Looks beautiful.I have never with the overnight biga ones.Too lazy for that.
Hey you can call Daring Baker Babe (Buddy)(DBB):D

aquadaze said...

these look absolutely perfect!

Rachel said...

Beautiful knots they are!

And you do get taco shells in Madras for quite some time now.

Superchef said...

they look soo perfect!

Ilva said...

I am sure you are a perfect babe! Your buns look perfect and I am really happy you liked this bread! Please keep on joining us!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Babe, definitely.

Hillary said...

These look a lot like challah rolls. Very nice recipe - thank you!

Mary said...

They are almost - almost - too perfect to eat. What a lovely job.

Madam Chow said...

Beautiful job - you are inspiring me to make them. I, too, would use butter, and I was afraid it might change the recipe, but since you said they tasted very good, I'm hoping to give them a try.

Aparna said...

Thank you all for your comments here. :)

HC, do make them. They're not very difficult and very, very tasty.

I'm not an expert either but do try baking your own bread, its worth the effort.

Yes, Lien they are delicious. And I should say thanks to you really. :) You got me started.

Thank you Di_ani for passing on the award to me.

Sweatha, the overnight biga ones are as easy. You just refrigerate the biga and don't do anything else.
That's some title! :D

I didn't know you got readymade taco shell there, Rachel. One more item on my shopping list for next time. :)

Thanks Ilva, for the recipe and the badge. I shall be with you all on the bread baking journey.

Thanks Susan. From you, that's an honour. :)

MC, I am glad to see you gave these knots a go too. And they've turned very good too.