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Biscotti help

I have tried three or four different biscotti recipes and my results are always crumbly. Does anyone have a foolproof recipe?

Thanks in advance

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  1. We like these:
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives...
    http://www.slashfood.com/2007/12/07/c...
    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...
    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

    As for the recipe you're using, it sounds like it's under hydrated. Flour can have more or less of it's own moisture at any given time That's why bakery recipes are by weight not volume. You can adjust the liquid to compensate until you have a dough that will barely hold together.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      Did not know that,about flour thanks. I prefer recipes by weight and not volume. The results are more consistent.

      1. re: dutchdot

        Right! But a recipe shouldn't be inflexible. If the ones you have that are by volume aren't working, you can add more water, milk or whatever. Just do it with a light hand -- biscotti dough is supposed to be very firm so it holds it's shape as it bakes the first time.

        When I adjust the liquid which I frequently do for bread dough I use a spray bottle. But don't overwork biscotti dough. You don't want to develop gluten.

    2. Can you explain a little more what went wrong? Are they crumbling apart when you try to slice them up or after they're done baking the second time?

      5 Replies
      1. re: jvanderh

        The biscotti crumbles at the sight of a knife, but is whole coming out of the oven.

        1. re: dutchdot

          Are you using a serrated knife? Are you just lightly sawing through or exerting too much downward pressure? Are you trying to slice them too soon before they cool a bit and get stable?

          Some crumbling does happen. I think it's David Lebovitz who says he got so tired of people at Chez Pannise telling him that the crumbly bits he passed out in the kitchen were so good he didn't need to bake them a second time that he wanted to strangle anyone who said it to him. You just enjoy the chunks or put them aside to dry out, break them into crumbs and use them to top ice cream or between filo leaves for streudel or make a graham cracker type crust with them or something.

          Better luck with the next batch!

          Oh! Afterthought: how much fat is in your recipe? It may or may not make a big difference as to crumbling but my experience is exclusively with recipes that have no fat in addition to the egg yolks. The low fat issue is actually why I make biscotti.

          1. re: rainey

            The knife is serrated, will check the pressure --- I could be pushing it down. My recipe, which contains 4 ounces of butter, says to cool 15 minutes before cutting --- could that be the problem?

            I agree on the crumbs, but I get all the crumbs and husband misses out. Perhaps I should save the crumbs for him?

            1. re: dutchdot

              Try reducing the baking time for the first baking so that it isn't so brittle. The logs should be firm enough to hold their shape as you slice them but not fully cooked. Take them out a little earlier and see if it goes better.

              I'd say 10-15 minutes of cooling is about right. They need to be cool enough to work with comfortably.

              For what it's worth, I slice mine thick enough to stand up on the baking sheet. That way I can dry out both sides at the same time. I also reduce the temp 50˚ and use the convection heat for the second baking so they dry instead of brown.

              1. re: rainey

                Those suggestions are wonderful! Thick enough to stand up --- ingenious

      2. Can you list the recipes you've been using? Might help us help you.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          The recipe is Nonna's Biscotti on Epicurious.com. Another question is my husbaqnd would prefer it without the brandy. What do I substitute? Should I just give up and go on the search again --- this is my third recipe to try

          1. re: dutchdot

            You can sub water or milk to keep the hydration the same or you could sub a liqueur like amaretto (almond), frangelico (hazelnut) or sambuca (anise).

            1. re: dutchdot

              I think the suggestion to cut a few minutes off the first bake is good advice. I'm not much of a baker, and had good results with this one on the first try: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/re... but I hesitate to call it foolproof because I have ruined many, many purportedly foolproof pie crust recipes :-P

          2. The richer the dough, the less the crumbling at cutting. I only let mine rest about 5 minutes to 'set' before slicing and rebaking.

            I use my 10" chef's and go straight down (I always use nuts) and have no problem, but my recipe uses one part butter to 4 parts flour to 2 lg eggs. They're not as rock hard as those with eggs only. They can alternately be eaten with only one baking with no need to soak, and no fear of teeth chipping.

            walnut pepper biscotti

            SIFT:
            1 3/4 c flour
            1/2 tsp each b soda and b powder
            1/8 tsp salt

            CREAM:
            1/2 c (1/4 lb) butter, room temp
            1 c sugar

            add to butter/sugar:
            2 Tbl. grated orange peel
            1 1/2 tsp vanilla ext.
            1/4 tsp almond ext.
            1 /12 tsp finely hand-ground black pepper
            2 lg eggs

            1 1/2 c English walnuts lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

            add dry flour to the creamed sugar/butter/flavorings, add nuts and bring together. chill dough.

            butter and flour 2 cookie sheets, and divide dough into thirds. Roll each to 1 1/2" wide roll. Arrange at least 5" apart lenghtwise on sheet. Bake at preheated 350F until light golden and set, about 20 min. Cool slightly (5 minutes?) and cut diagonally into 3/4" slices. Bake standing on edge another 12-15 minutes. Cool completely before storing tighlty covered.

            These are great with a sweetish white wine, or coffee. My husband didn't like to dip these, so I always left the ends and about 1/2 out of the final bake, for him.

            1 Reply
            1. re: toodie jane

              That sounds wonderful! I'm going to try it tomorrow.

            2. I've just made a batch of biscotti that uses Olive Oil instead of butter. They came out with a crisp outside and a tender inside. They were easy to cut . Olive oil might distribute the fat more evenly throughout batter making for a more tender cut stage. I don't see why direct substitution couldn't be made into any recipe (1/2 cup olive oil for 1/2 cup butter)