Tarhana Twisters

Yesterday, I showed you how to make tarhana, the mother of all instant soups. I already mentioned that I like to use it for other things as well, for example as a soaker in breads.
Today, we’re making Swiss Twisters, aka Wurzelbrot (root bread) which I like to call Frankenstein’s Baguettes. We’re using tarhana for a soaker and for the crust. It gives the breads a subtle, but deep and complex aroma.

To make 3 twisters, you need:

  • 50g tarhana
  • 100g boiling water
  • 10g salt
  • 160g lievito madre (ripe but not too old)
  • 200g water
  • 50g greek yogurt
  • 300g bread flour (I used wheat 1050)
  • 100g whole wheat flour (plus a bit extra, depending on how thick/thin the yogurt is)
  • 2 tsp tomato powder (only if you have it, I had a rest to use up)
  • extra tarhana the next day, to twist the dough in

Mix the tarhana with the salt in a small bowl, then cover it with the boiling water and stir. Cover the bowl with a plate and let the mixture steep until it’s thick and has sucked up all the water. Should take about 10 minutes. If you want, you can also add the tomato powder at this step.

Dissolve the lievito madre and the yogurt in the warm water, then add everything else and mix it into a smooth, but soft and sticky dough. Make sure everything is evenly distributed, but don’t worry about the windowpane test.

Oil your hands, place your dough in an oiled bowl or container and give it a round of stretches and folds every 20-30 minutes for the next 2 hours. Leave the container on the kitchen counter in the meantime. You’ll see that the dough will improve with every round.

Cover your container with a lid and shove it into the fridge for about 24 hours. It should grow significantly before the next step.

Dust your work surface with tarhana and let the dough carefully slide out of the container and onto the crumbs. It should be soft and fluffy, so make sure you don’t destroy the air bubbles inside. Carefully pull it into a kinda rectangle, dust it with more tarhana and cut it into 3 pieces with a bench knife. You don’t have to be exact, just eyeball it. It doesn’t matter if the breads will end up the same size or not.

Now grab the ends of the dough strips with a hand each and twist it like you would a wet rag to get the water out. Twist a couple times until you achieve the look you like.

Place the twisters on a parchment covered baking sheet and keep them warm for about an hour. They should rise up again.

In the meantime, pre-heat the oven including baking steel or pizza stone to 250°C / 480F. When it’s time, place the sheet on top of the steel/stone, turn the temperature down to 200°C / 390F and bake with steam for about 35 minutes.

Let the breads cool before you cut into them. Enjoy with a dip, a veggie spread or just as is alongside a salad.

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