Is my biscotti dough too dense?
I followed the almond chocolate chip recipe on epicurious.com and ended up with a dough too watery to roll into logs. I added a lot more flour (probably way too much) and ended up with the logs below.
Biscotti makers: do they look to thick? Should I be aiming for something that's more gloppy and free form, and let it take shape in the oven?
Another recipe said to partially freeze the dough to make it shapeable. Has anyone tried this?
The final biscotti were tasty, but the texture needed to be more airy and crisp. They were a little dense and took a lot longer to bake than the recipe said.
I say go for the gloppier dough. I actually find that getting the dough dry enough to roll into a log makes for overly dense, floury biscotti. So I do it one of two ways. Either I just pile small globs of dough onto the baking parchment (or foil in a pinch -- don't do this directly on a baking sheet or it will never release) in a log-like pattern and shape them with wet hands into a straight line. Messy, obviously, but also fun.
Or, if the dough is REALLY wet and slack, I steal Maida Heatter's idea and roll it in plastic wrap and then freeze it for a few hours before baking at a low temp -- around 275 F, for quite a long time. Just pile some dough onto the middle of a long sheet of plastic wrap, bring the ends together, roll up, and gradually squeeze the dough out to each side, to form a sausage shape. Once it's frozen, you can unroll it quite easily onto your (again, parchment-lined) baking sheet.
One warning, a wet dough like this will really spread quite a bit in the oven -- more so than dry doughs -- so leave plenty of room for it to do so.
Oh, one other warning -- once baked, these wetter doughs are trickier to slice neatly. I generally find I get the best results when I wait until the dough has cooled enough to firm up, but is still warm. Of course, the broken-reject slices are still delicious, just not as pretty.
Your pre-baked dough looks ok as far as shape. But maybe the mouthfeel is off because you altered the flour- to fat & sugar ratio.
I usually quarter my finished dough to make it a more manageable size, then roll (press) into logs. My dough has butter, is relatively soft, so I handle it quickly. I don't chill the dough at all. The logs end up about 1 1/2 " in diameter, about 12-14" long. I place them 2 per cookie sheet, and as they bake, they spread a bit to become about 4" wide and 1/2 to 3/4 " tall.
[I gave the recipe to a baker where I work, and she "cheated"--she just pressed the whole amont of dough into a 1/2" thick cake on her half sheet pan. (They were about 8" wide, and 15" long, I think she doubled or trebled the recipe as she uses a commercial oven.) Then she sliced them straight across since the cakes were already wide enough.]
Whatever shape, slicing on the diagonal achieves a longer cookie shape. Personally I like mine about 4-5" long, so the smaller logs work fine.
Here are the ingredients for my dough for comparison to your recipe:
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t. b soda
1/2 t. b. powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. soft unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
2 lg eggs
2 t. orange zest
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
1 1/2 c. coarsley chopped toasted English walnuts
note this recipe contains butter and whole eggs. I know some Italian recipes call for no fat, and egg whites only, which give a crunchy, hard texture, like La Tempesta commercial brand. They probably keep better, but that has not been an issue in my house! My recipe is from Spain, I believe, and is richer, which I prefer to the drier traditional Italian biscotti.
Good luck with your biscotti!
Those look roughly like mine when i make them. It's hard to answer your re: link question regarding density from a photo.
To handle the superwet dough (and, yes, it is really wet), I recommend rubbing butter on your hands when shaping it. It's the only way to make it manageable in my experience.