Thursday, 25 April 2013

My Twisted Cookies


We Knead to Bake #4 : Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Sugar twisted Cookies)


This month Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen decided to make Yeasted cookies instead of bread. It was a welcome change for all of us in the group We Knead to Bake !! Though I was a liitle skeptical in the begining but when I tried them with family and friends..for their my delight everybody liked it!! My son even carried them in his tiifin for his friends....!!

The origin of these biscuits is believed to be from Grissini (breadsticks) which were made from the leftover scraps of bread dough. According to one story, a Grissini baker had some leftover butter which he needed to use up. Inspiration struck and he decided to add the butter to the last batch of his Grissini dough for the day. To be able to differentiate this lot of “breadsticks”, he rolled them in sugar and shaped them into loops, and the Torcetti was born. Torcetti/ Torchettini taste even better when they’re flavoured with lime/ lemon zest or anise.

These yeast-risen cookies are a cross between a bread stick and a caramelized puff pastry palmier. The cookies are crunchy – you can easily tell this by their look. 

Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Adpated from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)


 1/2 cup warm water
 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder (if making chocolate torcettini)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
 40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
 about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies


1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.

2  Cut cold butter into small pieces and combine them well with flour and salt. Then add the yeast mixture to form a ball. On a slightly floured surface, fold dough onto itself 3 or 4 times or until it is smooth and no longer sticky.

3.  If making chocolate Torcetti, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add the 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder mentioned in the recipe. Don’t add the lemon zest/ anise. Use orange zest and maybe add 1/ 2 tsp instant coffee powder with the flour.

4..Place dough in the buttered bowl, turning it over so that the top is buttered. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled, about an hour. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. 

5. When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized  of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.

6. Roll a piece of dough on a sugared surface to make a pencil-thick strand of about 4 or 5-inches long, then cross one end over the other about 1-inch up from the ends. Place shaped cookies on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1-inch apart.


7. Let  twisted cookies rest at room temperature for about  15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat  oven to 180 C.

8. Bake until they are lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Bread # 3 Hokkaido Milk Bread With Tangzhong



For The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk

For The Dough:
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 3 tbsp sugar
 1tsp salt
2 tbsp powdered milk
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1/2 cup milk (and a little more if needed)
1/8 cup cream (25% fat, I used Amul)
 1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF of the tangzhong from above)
1/4 tsp salt
25gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips if making the rolls


The Tangzhong  (Flour-Water Roux)

1. Whisk together lightly the flour and water in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring/ whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.
2. Cook The roux  until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux/ tangzhong as you whisk/ stir it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.

3. Let the roux/ tangzhong cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the fridge for about a day. Discard the tangzhong after that.

The Bread Dough

1. Put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast in the processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix. In another small bowl mix the milk, cream and Tangzhong till smooth and add to the processor bowl. Run on slow speed until the dough comes together. Now add the butter and process till you have a smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky.

2. The dough will start out sticky but kneading will make it smooth. If the dough feels firm and not soft to touch, add a couple of tsps of milk till it becomes soft and elastic. When the dough is done, you should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking right away.  When it does break, the break should be form a circle.

 3. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so it is well coated. Cover with a towel, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or till almost double in volume.  

4. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins). Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. 

5. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin , about 1/8” thick. 

6. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold.

7. Arrange in a loaf tin and cover with a cling l and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.

8. To make the rolls fold them in the same manner described above, but before rolling them up, place some chocolate chip on the dough. Roll the dough rectangles carefully and pinch to seal the edge. Place each roll of dough in a well-oiled muffin cup and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.

9. Brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk (or cream) and bake them at 180C for about 20 to 30 minutes till they are done (if you tap them they’ll sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top.

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