Marcia asks: I just purchased a biscotti pan made by Chicago Metallic. It came with a recipe that I wasn’t crazy about: It used oatmeal and advised you to form a loaf and place it in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
From going to different recipe sites for biscotti, some say to shape into a rough loaf leaving 3/4” around the sides, others say to just pat it into the pan. Which is the appropriate thing to do?
Then I am puzzled if the recipe says to be shaped into more than 1 loaf. What do I do: put it all into one pan, or bake each loaf separately in the pan?
I am hoping that you can clear up my dilemma. I just want a bare bones recipe that I can adjust the flavors and extra goodies. Maybe you can provide that for me also.
Baking S.O.S. says: It IS confusing trying to navigate all the different recipes and directions: there is so much variation, as you pointed out!
Regarding the specific recipe that came with your new biscotti pan, my guess is that the recipe was formulated to make just one loaf that fits exactly in the pan. Unless the recipe specifically says to leave 3/4″ of space around the sides of the pan, I would pat the dough all the way to the edges.
In looking at various recipes for biscotti on the Internet, however, you may need to make some adjustments when using the biscotti pan.
I have read a few recipes that say the dough will spread a lot during the first round of baking. I think that is the reason why some recipes say to allow 3/4″ of space around the edges of the pan: so the dough has room to spread.
Also, various biscotti recipes direct you to shape the dough into two logs ranging in lengths from 8″ to 12″ by 2″ in width. Given the dimensions of the Chicago Metallic biscotti pan (12″ x 5 1/4″ according to several web sites), I think you might be able to make just one loaf in the pan with a full recipe of biscotti dough. (You will probably have to test this, though, through trial and error I am afraid!) If you put a full batch of dough into the pan and it overflows the pan, you know you have too much. You should have a little room for the biscotti to expand and spread while baking.
Finally, you requested a basic biscotti recipe that you can customize to your own taste preferences. I found a couple of basic recipes that I would recommend, though I have not tested the recipes yet myself. The first recipe is from Mark Bittman’s cookbook “How to Cook Everything,” and I rely on that cookbook a lot at home. I like his style and approach to cooking, so I trust his opinion on biscotti, too! Here is a link to the recipe: Mark Bittman’s Basic Biscotti.
And lastly, you may want to refer to my blog post about my own test experiment with a biscotti recipe. I tested a Cooking Light recipe for Chocolate Cherry & Hazelnut Biscotti that was delicious! It’s not a basic recipe, but it was certainly good!