Monday, February 27, 2012

Spaccatini - Little Cleft Rolls

These little rolls from The Italian Baker by Carol Fields are probably my new favourite roll. At first I was wondering why these rolls from Lugano which is actually in Switzerland were featured in The Italian Baker, but upon further investigation I learned that this scenic and picturesque town on Lake Lugano on the Italian border also known as the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland" is the largest Italian speaking city outside of Italy. So having these fabulous rolls in the Italian Baker makes perfect sense.

I was attracted to the recipe for how easy it was to make. The night before I prepare a biga; a little flour, water and yeast mixed together and allowed to sit in a cool room overnight where it triples in volume.

In the morning I add this biga to more flour, yeast, water and salt and knead it to a smooth dough and set it in a greased bowl to rise.

In about a hour and a half the dough has come up to the top of the bowl and is ready for shaping. By the way may I mention here that this is one of the most velvety doughs I have ever worked with, to say that it feels like a baby's behind wouldn't be far off.

The recipe makes 16 rolls; I divided the dough into quarters then each quarter was divided into 4 pieces each weighing 55 grams.

The most time consuming part of making these little rolls is depressing a small dowel into each one to form a cleft. Now I suppose if you wanted to elimate this step, say because you were in a hurry, and just let the rolls rise and score with a knife no one would be the wiser. However if you did this just call them something else. I looked up the word spaccatini and found nothing, but the word "spaccare" is the verb for "to break or to split" so I am guessing that the little split in these rolls is where they got their name.

These are then placed top side down on a floured surface, covered with a towel or in my case plastic wrap and allowed to rise for about an hour or until they are doubled. I forgot to take a picture of the rolls on the parchment upside down and also of the rolls turned back cleft side up where I reemphasized the cleft by scoring the crease with a sharp knife.

They are baked in a 425 degree oven for about twenty minutes and when they are done you are rewarded with these crusty rolls with a lovely slightly chewy crumb. So whether you are Swiss or Italian I can't imagine that you would turn these down.


Spaccatini – Little Cleft Rolls


Makes 2-1/3 cups (about 585 grams)
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water, room temperature
2-1/2 cups (about 350grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
Stir the yeast into the warm water and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining water and then the flour, 1 cup at a time.
Mix with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes or mix with the paddle attachment of the mixer at low speed for 2 minutes.
Remove to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at a cool room temperature for 6 to 24 hours. The starter will triple in volume and still be wet and sticky when ready. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When needed scoop out desired amount.


¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups (500 grams) Biga
About 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
Stir the yeast into the water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the starter and mix with the paddle until the starter is broken up. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook and knead at low speed 2 minutes, then at medium speed 1 minute. If you want, finish kneading briefly by hand on a floured surface; you will probably need 1 to 2 tablespoons additional flour.
First Rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Shaping and Second Rise. Cut the dough into 16 pieces, each about the size of a lemon. Shape each piece into a ball on a floured surface; then, with the edge of your hand, a dowel, or the floured handle of a wooden spoon make a deep indentation down the center of each ball. Place the rolls cleft side down, on a well-floured surface. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Baking. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Just before baking, turn each roll over and reemphasize the cleft. Place the rolls, cleft side up, on lightly oiled or parachment-lined baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, spraying 3 times with water in the first 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.


Patty said...

Incredibly amazing rolls. So nice to find your blog and discovering you are from Toronto where I have relatives and Where I left a little piece of my heart. Nice to meet you cara. Un bacione from Siena, Pat

doughadear said...

Hello Patty
Thank you for your kind words and visiting my blog. So nice to hear that you have a connection to Toronto. I have many relatives in Treviso which I feel very close to.
Nice to meet you as well. Un bacione at te pure.

Gosia said...

You had me at 'spaccatini'. A minute ago the gluten-free diet of mine was wavering, this very minute, it's a mere and fainting memory. I'm baking these tomorrow!

doughadear said...

You will love them Gosia! Please let me know how they turn out.

Chiara said...

che carini,di certo molto fragranti! passa un felice weekend Oriana, un bacione....

HanaĆ¢ said...

They look lovely! I love the shiny golden crust, and I'll take your word for the chewy interior. I haven't played much with recipes that include a biga (once to be exact, ha ha) but I'd like to try it more often. Thanks for including the recipe.

Just wondering... are you "the" doughadear that always commented on Marie's blog during our RHC bake-along? :o)

doughadear said...

Grazie Chiara, buon weekend, un abbraccio.

It takes a little planning when you bake with a biga but it's worth it.

Yes I'm the same Doughadear.It all started with the Bread Bible by RLB, then I found Rose's blog that connected me to Breadbasketcase where I met Melinda who gave me the nudge to start my own blog.

Melinda said...

These look really nice! That dough does look very baby bottom-esque!
I am going to try this recipe out for the next time I am needing a dinner roll recipe. It looks perfect.
I see my name is mentioned here. I am proud to have nudged you to blog. You are a fantastic baker!

doughadear said...

I can still remember how incredible that dough felt. I really hope you try these out and please let me know how they turn out.