I’ve learned how to make biscotti. It’s become one of our favorites. Rosy our dog thinks they’re worth drooling over. This recipe uses Hermann starter. If you don’t have any sourdough starter you can use a store bought yeast version of starter posted below. Sourdough starter can be tricky to start yourself. The version below has to convert to the wild yeast if you want to keep a supply of starter going.

Sourdough Biscotti
1 cup Hermann starter (similar to Amish starter w/less sugar)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix everything together.
Add in dry ingredients:
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup nuts in small pieces
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
You can use almonds or raisins too.

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl then mix up wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add nuts and chocolate chips or other flavorings if desired. Dump dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Make into two logs. I make mine about 11 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. The dough will be sticky. I use a knife to shape it. It will puff up when baked. Bake at 325 for about 20-25 minutes. I bake mine on the middle of the oven since the bottom burns on a lower shelf. The top and outside should be evenly brown. A toothpick should come out clean when done.
Cool 20 minutes.
When cool, cut into 1/2 inch slices. Inside should be done all the way through. Put sliced sides down. Watch closely. Bake again at 250 degrees. Turn after 12 minutes then turn again. Bake 12 more minutes, then turn off oven and leave them in the warm oven. You can check them in about 15 minutes. If still not firm, reheat oven briefly to 250 and turn off. (Don’t forget to turn it off!) Leave them in the oven and remove from oven when firm. You can serve plain or cover tops with icing. Keep them in an airtight tin.

Lemon Icing
Good with almonds!
Use real lemon juice thickened with confectioners sugar.

Chocolate icing:
Melt in microwave :
1/2 square bakers chocolate
1 1/2 tsp butter
Stir in
1 TBSP milk,
6 TBSP confectioners sugar or mix in double boiler.

Sourdough purists would disapprove, but you can make a starter with yeast in a pinch. You’ll need to make it a few days before using it. If it’s the consistency of gravy and bubbly all the way through, you can use it sooner.

Shortcut Hermann Starter
In a medium sized glass or ceramic bowl, mix together:
2 TBSP warm water (not too hot)
1 1/2 tsps yeast in water
When dissolved, add:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar (the Amish version uses 1/2 cup sugar)
1/2 cup unbleached flour

Stir with a wooden spoon. Don’t worry about lumps. They’ll dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap, cheesecloth or a towel and keep at room temperature.

If you want to keep feeding it, you’ll need to make enough extra to feed. When I made this shortcut yeast version before, mine didn’t keep longer than a couple weeks then went bad. The store bought yeast has to convert to the wild yeast in order for it to keep reproducing. If you want to try to catch some wild yeast, start with this recipe and check it every day stirring daily. If it smells OK and has bubbles all the way through, it’s fine. You can refrigerate it after it’s working well or freeze it for later use. It needs to be fed every three days at room temp or once a week in the fridge. I keep mine in the fridge unless I have just fed it. I leave it at room temperature until some bubbles form on the surface. Measure out 1 part starter, 1 part milk, 1 part unbleached flour and half as much sugar.

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