I’ve been thinking about this for so long, and always postponing, but yesterday it was too ugly to take my little one out (right baby?) so I felt like I finally could bake my favorite breakfast bread, fette biscottate which, I reckon, are the only way to save myself from the energy-dense breakfasts I’ve been having for a while.
Back in Italy, I used to have fette biscottate (or Zwieback, as they call them in US) with a cup of warm caffe-latte or tea in the morning, for as long as I can remember. They were filling and satisfying and light on the calorie-side. After moving abroad, breakfast became a problem. Local versions of fette biscottate, skorpor, were way too sugary and tasted like cinnamon. Not quite the same. The Italian version indeed was only vaguely sweet and had a fragrant but neutral taste that could accompany whatever I felt like spreading on them: honey, or butter, or jam or… nutella! And they were also great alone, preferably dipped into my extra-large cup of warm caffe-latte.
Anyway, not having fette biscottate available led me to switch toward salty types of breakfasts (I just can’t eat cereals), which in the end pumped up the amount of food I eat in a day. In fact, even after a rich American-style breakfast, I will still get hungry at lunch time and end up having three big meals in a day, while Italians only have two: a good lunch and a light dinner. If you want to know more about the Italian meal structure and maybe get some inspiration on how to change your food habits, I found this interesting link.
After some search, I decided this was the best recipe. And as usual I changed a few things here and there.
HOME-BAKED FETTE BISCOTTATE
You need: 500 g all-purpose flour, 75 g sugar, 1 egg, 1 tea-spoon malt extract (or honey), 12 g fresh yeast (or 5 g instant yeast), 210 g water, 4 table-spoon vegetable oil (I used cold-pressed canola), 5 g (1 tea-spoon) salt, 3 table-spoon milk. American measures coming soon.
How To: Step 1. Melt the yeast in the water with the malt extract (or honey) and let rest 5 minutes. Combine the flour with the sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg white (and put the egg yolk aside for later use), the oil, and the yeast mixture. Knead for 20 minutes by machine (or 15 by hand), adding the salt only before the last 5 minutes of kneading. Let rest for 30 minutes covered with plastic foil. Step 2. Form 3 balls and cover again with plastic foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. Step 3. Flatten each ball with a rolling-pin on a floured surface and shape 3 tight rolls. Seal the roll with your fingers and place seamed side down on 3 plum-cake forms, covered with baking paper. Let rest, covered with plastic foil for 1 to 2 hours in a lightly warm place. Brush with the egg-yolk combined with the milk. Step 4. Bake for 30 minutes at 190 degrees (Celsius) and then lower the temperature to 160, take the loaves out of the forms, and bake for further 15 minutes (they have to look golden brown). Step 5. Let cool covered with a kitchen towel for at least 12 hours (and up to 24 hours, if you wish). Cut into 1 cm wide slices and bake at 160 for about 30 minutes.
CONSIDERATIONS: Don’t they look just like store-bought ones? I am so happy I resolved to do my own fette biscottate, not only because I could not find them in Sweden, but also because, as usual, I could control the ingredients: organic flour and eggs, a little organic sugar, and good quality oil. So when I eat my favo breakfast I can now feel like I am feeding my appetite together with my body. And since home-baked anything tastes oh sooo good, I can even say that I am feeding my… soul.
This is going to YeastSpotting.