Friday, July 30, 2010

Pistachio Twist Bread

Pistachio Twist Bread
For the 16th HBinFive Bread Braid

YUM!  This bread was one of the first assignments for the newly formed "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" baking group.  It was made with the "braided challah with whole wheat and wheat germ" dough.  I left out the wheat germ, and added flour to make the right consistency.  Rose water flavored the pistachio filling wonderfully.  

We took the bread to a holiday party, and people couldn't stop nibbling it!

For months, I have been craving this bread.  A friend of mine went to Trader Joe's in another city and brought me back bags of shelled pistachios.  I knew just what I was going to do with them!!!

Half a recipe, which is 2 breads, seemed like a good idea.  One for us, and one for a friend.  I usually space out my baking, so one night I put all the dry ingredients (minus the yeast) into my dough bucket. 

The next morning, I added the yeast, and the liquid ingredients.  Why does the dough look so watery?  

I began adding flour to the mixture, trading off between white whole wheat and unbleached all purpose.  Finally, I figured it out (you probably figured it out, too!)--I had added enough water for a full batch.  I added the remaining ingredients to make full batch, and added enough flours to make the dough feel "right."  So I can't tell you the proportion of white whole wheat flour to all purpose that was used in the bread.  But it did come out lighter in color; probably more all purpose was used this time.
Making the filling

The filling was easy to make.  I started by weighing 5oz. of pistachios.  Just enough to make  1/2 Cup of ground pistachios.  Weighing ingredients makes the job go much faster!
Recently, I was able to buy orange water.  That was the first choice in the recipe).  I was curious how it would taste, compared to the rosewater I used last time.

After adding the orange water, the mixture became a thick paste.

Rolling out the dough Placing globs of filling on the dough makes it easier to spread out a thick filling.  Can you see a picture in the blobs?

The dough is then rolled into a log, and twisted into a spiral.
Here's 2 twists, put aside to rise.  Notice that I put timers on each of them.  Love that dollar store--I picked up timers that I can use on differently-timed baking projects.  The microwave timer tells me when to turn on the oven!

The finished loaf.  But it's stuck to the pan, and felt flimsy.  I set a timer for 5 minutes to let the loaf firm up.  
Then, using my bench knife, 
I loosened the loaf on all sides.

Instead of lifting the loaf, I lifted the Silpat by the diagonal corners to transfer it to the cooling rack.  After all that work, I wasn't going to risk a loaf falling apart!  From the cooling rack, it was easy to slip out the Silpat.   
Ta da!  The loaves are now cooling on the racks.  With the rest of the dough, I made hot dog buns.

What a great day of baking! 

Handwise/Time Saving tips:  If you have hand pain, tendonitis, or arthritis or any other pain issues and want to make this recipe, you might space it out over a few days:

Make the HB5 stored dough several days before you plan to bake.  Make the filling on a different day, so you can concentrate on making the filling and cleanup of food processor on that day. 

When you are mixing the dough--If your hand problems respond to warmth, mixing with your hands may be a wonderful option.  The water you add is about 100 degrees, and it's a very wet dough.  It's pretty easy to mix, and no kneading.  I always love to put my hand into the warm dough to mix it!  You can get a better idea of when the dough is "just right," too!  That was especially important this time, when I added too much water.

Let the dough rest if it resists stretching out.  Wait 10-15 minutes after doing the gluten cloak, and it easily should be able to be patted into a larger circle or rolled out.  Good time to have a seat and rest your hands!

Find what kind of rolling method works best for you.  You might pick up the dough and have gravity stretch it for you.  You might use an OXO-type rolling pin.  Or a pastry roller may be easier for you to use, with the angle of the roller coming from above.  I think the pastry roller is the easiest to use. 

You don't have to bake several items on the same day.  However, the hot dog buns form pretty fast and cook quickly.  It's nice to do it all while the oven it hot!

Soak your tools in your empty dough bucket or a pan when you are finished using them.  Soak your baking pan with soapy water after you remove the bread.  That way, you can wash them easily later (or tomorrow!)  Give yourself the permission of time to clean up much later.

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  I hope you will leave a comment below.  Maybe you can add a handwise or time saving suggestion that will help others?

About the HBinFive Baking Group
The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. To see what my HB5 baking buddies have made recently, check out 16th HB5 Bread Braid.


  1. OH YUM! Boy does this sound good. But you are ahead of schedule. This bread is not on our agenda until November! But that okay, I'm glad you tried it out so now we all know that it is excellent. Can't wait to try it!

  2. this sounds fantastic! I can't wait to give it a try :)

  3. This does look good! Love the hot dog idea.

  4. Oh, Michelle, I thought that we had done this bread already. My goof. I guess I did this in Dec because it looked so good. And those pistachio nuts kept talking to me!!! :)

    Thanks, Danielle and Cathy! I think you will love this. I prefer the rosewater, actually, which is easier to find.

  5. I love pistashios so will love making this. I will look for the rosewater as you suggested:)

  6. This looks fabulous. Can't wait to make it.

  7. Your bread looks so good! I can't wait to try it. I'm not going to say what the blobs in the picture look like..Rorschach might be reading! :)

  8. Thanks, Elwood! and Bonnie!

    It's really a wonderful bread. I would cut the pistachio mixture by about 1/3, though, for a full batch. Pistachios are expensive, and that would cut the leakage.

  9. Fabulous! I had to laugh when I read you had added too much water and ended up making full batch. You have no idea how many times I have done that! LOL. I finally gave up trying to make 1/2 batches and now usually make a full batch!

  10. Looks great, will have to give it a try.