Biscotti Picanti

June 6, 2012

Biscotti Picanti

I came across this recipe while searching for some different kinds of yeast breads to teach at one of my classes. I was looking for something that would have a very distinctive flavor and that would utilize some different techniques. This recipe has both of those and the spices and flavorings in it can be altered to fit your own tastes. I knew I had to incorporate it into the class and I am really glad I did. The texture of these twice baked breads are so light and crispy and nothing like what I first expected when I saw their picture on wild yeast. There is quite a bit of anise seed in the recipe, which usually isn’t a favorite of mine, but I just cut it back a bit and found it to be a wonderful flavor in these crackers. Pair them with some creamy cheeses for a tasty appetizer!

Some of my students made some suggestions on different flavors instead of the anise. You could try replacing the plain olive oil with some herb, orange, or garlic infused olive oils. You can also replace the anise seed with some flax seed so that you still have the crunch without the liquorice flavor. I think you can really play around with the flavor profile here, but the original is mighty delicious as is.


  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 ⅔ (7.9 oz, 225 g) cups AP-flour
  • 1 ⅔ (8.4 oz, 240 g) cups semolina flour
  • 3 TB (0.66 oz, 19 g) aniseed
  • 3 Tbsp (1 oz, 28 g) white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp (4.58 oz, 130 g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
  • 175 ml (6 oz, 175 g) water


  1.  Combine flours, yeast, aniseed, sesame seeds, salt and pepper, and yeast in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the olive oil, wine, and water. Knead briefly by stand or hand, just enough to form a rough ball that doesn’t have any dry bits of flour remaining. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough again for another 3-5 minutes and then allow the dough to rest again for another 15 minutes. Knead the dough again for another 3 or so minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lihtly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in bulk.
  3. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and shape each piece into a loaf about 12″ long. Transfer the loaves to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave at least 2 inches between the loaves for expansion. Take a dough cutter or a very sharp knife and cut the loaves into 1/2″-3/4″ slices. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let them rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4.  Preheat your oven to 500ºF, with the oven rack placed in the center.
  5. Bake the pre-sliced loaved for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and reduce the temperature to 175ºF. Carefully separate the slices and turn them so that they lie flat on the baking sheet. Return them to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. They should be golden brown and completely hardened. If they are not completely hard, place them back in the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, so that they can dry out more. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.


adapted from: Savory Baking from the Mediterranean via Wild Yeast

Posted in Other,Recipe Index,Regional Breads,Specialty,Yeast Breads

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