The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

So is biscotti actually bread?

clazar123's picture

So is biscotti actually bread?

I just made some biscotti from a recipe I concocted by reviewing many different recipes. I was looking for a way to use my sourdough starter discard. I ended up with a very wet dough that I needed to shape with a wet bench scraper into the logs. The final product is actually almost good.The next rendition will be better. Plus my shaping was atrocious-much too large.I didn't expect them to rise as much as they did.

But I'm still curious what category everyone thinks biscotti belongs in.Perhaps a sweet/quick bread is the closest category by the ingredients and how they are blended.It is flour,water,sugar,leavener (baking soda or powder),usually eggs,sometimes oil/fat,flavorings in the form of extracts,fruit, or chocolate.



pelosofamily's picture

biscotti in italian means "twice baked"  Biscotto means  cookie or biscuit.



serifm's picture

I have to disagree. Biscotti does not mean "twice baked." It is simply the plural of biscotto. For example, "Voglio un biscotto," means" I want a [one] biscuit." "Voglio due biscotti," means "I want two biscuits."



flournwater's picture

I agree.  "Twice baked (twice cooked)" in Itallian would be ""due volte al forno" or, in another context, "cotto due volte".

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

biscotti is actually a dry cookie, your logs would normaly be a stiff cookie dough witch you then bake fully, after the initial bake you cut the logs then bake the biscotti for around 8 more minutes on each side at 350(initial bake is usually around 350-375, and time is till fully baked).

then the fun begins!, oh est to do with super dry cookies...mmm chocolate...nuts...raisins...possibilities endless!!!

(also can put whatver you want in the cookie itself!!)


clazar123's picture

On several of the recipes, they talked about "kneading the dough" a few times and then shaping by hand into the logs. My dough would hold its shape but was very sticky and wet-like an unchilled sticky cookie dough.

So should it be one way or the other? Or is each recipe different?

mrfrost's picture

Authentic, or maybe it's better to call it Italian style biscotti, is baked to be hard and dry. As has been stated, made for dipping in coffee, liquers, etc.

Some American biscottis are made to be a little more tender and are enjoyable without being softened up by dipping. Some may not even go through the second baking, or just a very short second bake.

So the doughs may be different, depending on the desired outcome, but in general, they seem to have  dough consistencies like cookie doughs/batters.

flournwater's picture

I am sitting here dunking my biscotti into a cup of hot chocolate.  You can catagorize it any way you like.  I'm too busy enjoying it to question it's pedigree.

althetrainer's picture

Biscotti that is.  I personally like the authentic, very hard, dentist-friendly biscotti and of course I always eat it with hot chocolate or hot apple cider.  But I make the softer version for my friends because that's how they enjoy biscotti. 

My dough is never very sticky.  I use only 3 large eggs and vanilla, no oil or butter, for the hard biscotti,  with 2 cups of flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts.  I also add cranberries to enhance the flavor. 

I treat biscotti as cookies.  But whichever catagory it belongs, I will eat it any day!  LOL


serifm's picture

Biscotti are cookies, not bread. The singular form of the noun is biscotto, the plural biscotti, and the literal translation is "biscuit."This is the British use of the word "biscuit," which Americans call cookies.

The biscotti I make aren't quite traditional as they have butter in them. I do have a recipe for a type of biscotti called quarelsimali which are definitely for dipping into your coffee. Otherwise, you risks breaking your teeth! I once did so, and the dentist asked me to make him some. I think he set them out in his waiting room for his patients!

turosdolci's picture

Biscotti are a cookie and some varieties are double baked but not all. In past times they were taken on long voyages and it was important to remove the moisture so that they wouldn't get moldy and last for months. The dough can be sticky or dry, sweet or unsweetened, can be made in logs or individudal cookies. The recipes and ingredients are endless in Italy with many family or regional varieties.  Sometimes they will have different names for the same recipe in different regions. I have listed a blog I did about Chiacchiere to give an example of the names given to the same biscotti. Here I list only 10 names, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were more.

Taralli are in the busquit family and can be made with wine/beer, fennel/anise seed, black/red pepper usually unsweetened, but not always. Often shops that sell breads in Italy will also sell taralli, local varieties of double baked biscotti and only local varieties of sweet biscotti. Italians dunk the double baked biscotti in wine of expresso, but they are eaten by young and old all day long. They are a traditional dessert in all events and festivals.

Although biscotti means twiced baked as Alberto points out above, the name has become generic for all varieties of Italian cookies.

However you look at it biscotti have become a favorite in cafés all over the world.

Good Luck baking biscotti!



Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Just finished my last biscotti while reading this thread! I've only made two recipes so far but love to make them. The first was Cherry Mandelbrot also called Jewish biscotti in the recipe and was made with maraschino cherries and chopped pecans. The other was Almond extract and cardamom with chopped almonds and powdered sugar on some of them. I tried to get them really dry but with the high humidity here just accepted them as a cookie though it be a little drier! I'm going to bake more of them very soon!

Franko's picture

Biscotti is not normally made as a bread dough although I have no doubt that a yeast risen biscotti dough exists somewhere. Commonly it's a heavy cookie paste that's formed in a log, partially baked, sliced widthwise while still somewhat soft and baked again till crisp. Not a bread , but a damn fine cookie/biscuit. Viva Italia!

felicekitchen's picture

to clarify - in italian, "Bis" means again or twice, 'cotto' means cooked = therefore Bis Cotto cooked again or cookd twice.

Biscotto, in Italian, now referes to any cookie  regardless of how many times they are cooked - HOWEVER  the biscotti that are known in the english speaking world are really a take on CANTUCCI - harder, twice cooked almost rusk like for dipping into coffee or wine..


if that makes sense LOL!!

gaylelouise's picture

Has anyone ever come across a biscotti made with dark rye flour?


AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Is where us British get the term "biscuits" from.