Pizza Twist Bread makes a refreshing change for a light lunch with a salad or as an accompaniment to an Italian dinner. You can use your favorite bread dough and start this recipe at the special technique, or follow my recipe for whole grain artisan bread. It is the way the bread is formed that makes the crust, light and flaky, and gives it the robust flavour of Italian garlic bread.
Recipe for Pizza Twist Bread
4 cups of warm water
2 tbsp. yeast
2 tsp. sea salt
6 to 8 cups of whole wheat flour, hard winter wheat is best, freshly ground on pastry setting of your grain mill
1 cups of whole rye flour, freshly ground on pastry setting
1 egg, optional
2 tsp. thyme, dried and rubbed in the hands before adding it to the melted butter
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small can tomato paste
Grated cheese, optional
Mix yeast and warm water in a 2 quart, glass measuring dish. Set aside until frothy, about 15 minutes. If the yeast doesn’t get frothy, discard and try again with fresh yeast.
Meanwhile, grind wheat and rye flours separately in the Wondermill Grain Mill, and set aside.
When the yeast mixture is frothy add it to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, or if you will be mixing your bread by hand, add it to a large bowl that will hold 3 quarts of liquid. Mix in rye flour, the egg, salt, and 6 cups of wheat flour, one cup at a time, using the dough hook on your stand mixer, if you are using a mixer. Beat until the dough begins to strand, indicating that the gluten in the wheat flour is activated. The dough will be sticky at this point. Beat in only enough extra wheat flour to form a smooth, non-sticky dough. This will vary depending on the humidity in the air on the day that you grind your flour and on the day that you make your bread.
Turn dough out on lightly flour surface and knead until smooth, adding only enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter top. Less flour is better. Place dough in a clean mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place until dough rises and almost doubles in bulk — about 90 minutes.
Special technique for Joybilee Farm Twist Bread
Twist Bread is made similarly to making cinnamon rolls. The bread dough is rolled out into a thin rectangle, a filling is applied to the surface of the rolled out dough. The dough is then rolled up tightly. When making cinnamon rolls, at this point the dough is cut into rolls perpendicular to the rolled up dough. When making twist bread the dough is, instead, cut lengthwise along the full length of the rolled up dough. The two lengths of dough are then twisted together to form a rope, with the cut edge turned to the outside of the rope. In my example, I formed the rope of bread into a wreath shape, but you can also tuck the ends under the loaf and leave it as a rectangle.
Technique for Pizza Twist Bread
Once bread has risen, punch it down and divide into 6 equal parts. Cover dough while you work with each part individually. Roll out one piece of dough on a floured surface, as thinly as you can. Make sure that the counter is well floured so that you can lift the dough off the counter without tearing it.
Melt the butter and crush 2 cloves of garlic and add it to the melted butter. Add thyme to the butter, by rubbing dried thyme in your fingers before sprinkling the crushed thyme into the butter. Brush melted and herbed butter onto the rectangle of dough.
Brush tomato paste over melted butter. Sprinkle with finely grated cheese, if desired.
Roll up like a jelly roll. Moisten the edge of the dough and pinch firmly to join in the roll.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise, cleanly through. Take the two halves and twist them together, like a twisted rope, keeping the cut edge on the top of the twist. To make a wreath, overlap the two ends and moisten the dough at the overlap. Place on floured baking sheet. Brush with more melted herb-garlic butter. Cover with a towel to allow to rise.
Repeat with other 5 pieces of dough. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes. When it is done, the rolls will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven. Cool on rack, until still warm but cool enough to handle. Serve warm with extra butter.
Enjoy this creative way to prepare pizza or rolls. Have you tried this with cinnamon buns? Leave a comment and let me know how your Pizza Twists turn out.