Come on baby, do the (pizza) twist!

PizzaTwists

From the surprise endings of movies like The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects; to crullers, martinis, and – of course – Chubby Checker, some things are just better with a twist. After all, who doesn’t love…

A Slinky, or the corkscrew tail of a piglet? We dance the Twist, we play Twister, and watch more movies about twisters (mooooo). Given our love of twists and turns, it’s no surprise that before long we would begin to twist our food.

King Arthur Flour test kitchen guru Sue Gray came up with this great recipe that takes plain bread sticks to the next level, twisting cheesy buttery goodness inside each stick and baking to golden perfection. It’s a good thing that this recipe makes a big batch of 20, or you’d be twisting your way across the kitchen avoiding the hungry hordes just to get the tray on the table!

Let’s make Pizza Twists.

In a small bowl mix together:

1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder
1 teaspoon pizza seasoning or the dried herbs of your choice
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon water

The mixture will be soft, spreadable, and very fragrant.  Set aside while you make up the dough.

( I haven’t tried it, but if you don’t have the cheese powder, very finely shredded cheddar should work out just fine).

Using your favorite method, either by hand or machine, prepare the dough through its first rise:
* 3/4 cup lukewarm water (about 110°F)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
* 1 teaspoon instant yeast
* 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1/3 cup Hi-maize Fiber (if unavailable, use additional flour)

After the first rise is complete, turn the dough out onto the counter or a large silicone rolling mat, and pat out with your fingers to de-gas.

Using a combination of your fingers and a rolling pin,  stretch and roll the dough into a 20” x 10” rectangle.

If the dough develops a split or hole, just pinch it back together with your fingers and keep going.

Spread the filling mixture over the dough. I find it helpful to place little blobs of filling all over the dough, then spread them out to meet, rather than trying to spread all the filling from the center to the edges.

Leave a 1/2” border on the long sides so that you can seal those edges.

Sprinkle the filling with 1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella or pizza-blend cheese.

OH, yummy! And it’s not even baked yet!

Using the mat as a helping hand, fold the dough in half with the filling inside. Press the edges to seal with the heel of your hand.

Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, GENTLY (so as not to cut the mat) slice the dough in to 1”-wide fingers. They’ll only be sealed at the top and bottom; the sides will be open.

Again, if you’re cutting on the rolling mat, you need to use a plastic knife or wheel. Metal blades will slice the mat as well as the dough.

One strip at a time, twist the strip as though you were turning a key in a lock.

You should be able to get about 4 to 5 twists per strip. Don’t coil them too tightly, though, as they need a bit of room to grow.

Lay the strips side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet, with about 2″ between them.

Brush lightly with olive oil or garlic oil, cover the twists with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour. They’ll look nice and puffy. About 40 minutes into the rise, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the twists until they’re set and just beginning to brown. The exposed cheese will be nice and bubbly, and brown on the tips.

These twists don’t get a dark brown, just barely golden.

Ah, just look at that. Crispy toasted cheese-y outside; soft, warm, and tender inside.  Serve warm with a hearty pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.

Keep on dancin’, Chubby Checker; I’ll take these twists away myself!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Pizza Twists.

Find the printable version of Pizza Twists here.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. lishy

    Oh wow yum! I am so making these this weekend when we have some friends coming over for snacks. I see a little warm marinara, a bottle of red wine, and these going very quickly! Maybe I should make two batches. . . I picked up from a health food store some blue cheese powder, how do you think that would work in a second batch?

    Yes, I think you could double this recipe. Double all the ingredients except yeast. Leave the yeast at 1 teaspoon for a double batch. Have fun! – kelsey@KAF

    Reply
  2. nelll

    Hmmm…. I could SO see these in a basil version, spread with a thick pesto…
    Mmm, that would be good. PJ’s parsley pesto recipe is coming soon, so stay tuned. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. csrockwell

    These are great – I made them last weekend off the recipe in the catalog – except I also lightly brushed buffalo (hot) sauce over the dough when I did the filling. Served them along side chicken wings with blue cheese for dipping. So good.
    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. JoeyDinSD

    Agree with Neill on this one… Pesto twists. I think a Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto would rock this one. Can’t wait to get my kitchen set up again!
    How about a nice creamy alfredo sauce for dipping those in? Pure comfort food. Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Matt

    I really like this blog, but lately it feels like a shill for KAF products. As soon as I saw the title I thought to myself, “I bet it calls for their cheese powder and pizza seasoning.”

    I guess that’s the point of the blog though.
    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for sharing your feedback. The true and sincere reason for our blog is to share baking knowledge and help connect with and educate bakers. Will you see our products featured? Yes, you will for several reasons.
    Sure, we are a business and selling products is part of that.
    More than that though, we (PJ, Susan, Sue, myself) really do believe in the products that we choose to feature. Just like telling your best friend about a great movie or book, we tell you all about great items that we feel will really enhance your baking, or make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. We try to share experiences as well as recipes, to give our fellow bakers an idea of what ingredients are out there and how they can be used to make your baking special.
    Thanks again for sharing your comments. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. fran16250

    I am making lasagna tomorrow these will be perfect!!! I have been making up my yeast dough in the evening, shaping and letting it rise overnight in the fridge. I think I’ll try that with these tonight. I’ll report back on the success (I hope).

    Reply
  7. Barbara

    Of course they use their own products (after all, this is a King Arthur Flour site) but if you noticed they do mention what you can use if you don’t have it. For example, they state you can use finely shredded cheddar if you don’t have the cheese powder and use flour for the Hi maize fiber. However, I wouldn’t expect the same results with these substitutions. I have made several recipes both ways and just about every time it is better with their products. No matter what you decide to do, you will find wonderful ideas here. I know I do.

    Reply
  8. "Little All"

    Hi KAF,
    I’d like not only to tell you how great the Pizza Twist are but comment on your web site. I read the posting earlier about the blog being a shill for your products and I feel that could not be further from the truth. I visited the site for the first time just before Thanksgiving and used the pumpkin pie recipe for my first KAF baking experience. Best pumpkin pie I’ve ever baked. I then moved onto Baguettes, Gruyere Crusty Loaves, Cinnamon Rolls and the above Pizza Twists just to mention a few. It’s all the tips and techniques shared hear by KAF and others that I find to be the best on the internet and the true value of the web site. I have not found any other web site devoted to baking that answers bloggers questions, corrects recipes when needed and helps poor bakers like myself be better bakers like this web site. The only problem I may have is divorce due to baking to much but so far no one is complaining. They just comment on how good everything tastes. I love this KAF website but just in case don’t tell my wife.

    Our lips are sealed… but only until you serve up the pumpkin pie! :) PJH

    Reply
  9. AJ

    Many of us have collections of recipes from “brand name” products. I’ve got *Jello* recipes, *Betty Crocker*, *Rhoads*
    and many others. Do I always use that brand in making their recipes? No. Sometimes I use other brands if that’s what I have. KAF producys are very, very good. Alas my area does
    not have them. On my budget I really can’t afford to get much of them online but I DO treat myself to special items. KAF has one of the best blogs around and I regularly share recipes from them with friends. Every one has been a hit. Besides, KAF is employee owned so they’re more than
    entitled to “toot” their horn! Keep checking in and you’ll fall in love with them just as the rest of us have.

    Thanks, AJ – we appreciate your kind words… PJH

    Reply
  10. pattibos

    Oh, I cannot WAIT to try these out for Super Bowl Sunday! Oh, why am I kidding myself; I’ll have to try these sooner then that…probably during play-offs, that way I’ll be able to perfect the technique! In addition to trying the recipe as written, I think I’ll take a page from another reader and try some of my homemade pesto…stored in the freezer since last summer’s harvest! Oh, and thanks so much for showcasing KAF products…I find it a great way to try new products and recipes. KAF Staff…you are the best! Thanks!

    Reply
  11. drewsmom

    These look fabulous–I can’t wait to make them this weekend. I love KAF products and enjoy learning new ways to use them in my baking. Like most others here, I will always stick up for you, this blog and KAF products–keep up the great work!

    Reply
  12. rking59

    i made this recipe and my husband loves them. no more garlic bread for him. anytime i make any kind of tomato sauce i hear”you making those cheese bread sticks?”
    Wow! Now that’s what I call a recommendation! Thanks for sharing. Now, do you think he’d trade you cheese sticks for dish duty? ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. concretephil

    As far as this blog being used as a “shill” for KAF products is a correct as can be. However it works in the other direction too.

    Several years ago I purchased a wooden pizza peal form KAF which turned out to be one of the worst pieces of kitchen ware I’ve ever used. Sometime, in the near past, the peal was a featured item in an e-mail from KAF. I added a blog about how poor it was, stated my experience with it and advised that it should be purchased as a wall decoration only.

    Within 30 min. the Item was removed from the site as being for sale and as far as I can see, it has never returned.

    This, I see, is the apex of responsible marketing. The employees/owners of KAF have set the bar so high that it will take years for other companies to be able to reach!

    Reply
  14. tarragonmh

    Regarding Matt’s comment, yes they recommend some of their own products. It is a baking supply company, after all. But they always give a suggestion of an alternate ingredient or mention that it is optional. But where else will you find so much free education? Where else do you find completely free access to so many recipes? Not to mention you can call or instant chat with an expert when you are elbow deep in a major baking dilemma. Best. Blog. Ever.

    Reply
  15. SoupAddict Karen

    Matt, please don’t consider this comment as a piling on (take a moment to marvel at the football metaphor from a girl baker!), I’m just giving another perspective. I want KAF to promote their products to me, and show me new ways to use KAF products that are already in my pantry. Without KAF’s blog, I never would’ve learned of fiori di sicilia, my favorite cake batter additive ever. Sometimes I have KAF’s pizza dough flavoring on hand, sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t matter. Their recipes turn out great regardless. That’s why these people rock – they’re proud of their stuff but they know what the situation is with our every day kitchens, too.

    MaryJane, I am so making these this weekend – one vermont cheese batch, one pesto batch!Sounds soo good, I’m going to make a big batch of homemade tomato soup soon, these would be great with that. Guess where I’m going to look for my soup recipe? :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. MamaTess

    I am so going to make these for pizza night on Friday! Would this work with the standard pizza dough recipe I use every week? It’s just the KAF basic pizza dough which really does make awesome pizza (and plain bread sticks)!
    Hi Mama,
    Yes, it should work just fine with your pizza dough recipe. Have fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. Irene in TO

    This blog has a lot of value even if it does flog the King Arthur brand. The individual products have enough info to find good substitutes if you don’t want to do international mail order at the drop of a hat.

    I would like to see a blog devoted to mixing yeast dough by hand as all King Arthur recipes seem to use a bread machine or bakery-duty mixing machine.

    Just do the hand-mix blog once–then you can show people a link if they need it.

    Irene, I was JUST thinking of that. I realize we’re missing that piece. I’d like to shoot a quick video of hand-kneading, and show all the steps to allow anyone to be able to make a yeast loaf following an older recipe (using active dry yeast, proofing, etc.); and kneading by hand. I’ve even gone so far as to select the recipe… just need to find the time to do it. Thanks for connecting here and offering your input, as always- PJH

    Reply
  18. techkim

    Hi these look GREAT and like a pizza chain that make the same thing. Woot now I can make my own.
    Hey the mat you rolled the dough out on with the measuring lines, where can I get one?

    Here’s the rolling mat. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  19. dixiegrassl

    Where else can you get great instruction and inspiration; photos and online help. Go ahead and tell me about new products. since it’s still a free country, I can use Penzy’s spice or something I concoct on my own. That’s the fun of it, that many times it’s an art and not a science. Yeah for the smell of baking dough!

    Reply
  20. Maria

    These are GREAT! They are delicious and so easy to make. They are crunchy, chewy, and light in texture. I didn’t have any of the KAF additions on hand so I left them out. I added some sun dried tomatoes and basil…so good. I will make them again with some garlic butter or pesto. They’d probably be delicious with cinnamon/sugar for something sweet.

    Reply
  21. Paul p

    These little babies are great. They are easy and simple to make. I like King Arthur products because they work well and the people there are always glad to answer questions. In fact they helped me figure out the proper way to measure flour. All these years and I just scooped flour out of a bin. Now I find out that it works better if you weigh it, but barring that, to fluff it up first before putting it into a measuring cup. Love it.

    Paul

    http://phpalumbo.com

    Reply
  22. paulak58

    Can’t wait to try these, got a good giggle out of your Chubby Checker reference–my husband worked on his cars. And nice cars they were—along with a sweet man. I always try to make the recipe exactly as shown the first time and then be creative the next time….otherwise my creativity can really foul up an otherwise wonderful recipe. We all have THOSE recipes we have not lived down when we tinkered a bit too much….
    Wow, that’s sooo cool! I always loved his smile and it seemed like he was a genuinely nice guy. Glad to hear that he really was sweet. Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  23. binag

    I tried these without all the King Arthur products – except the flour – and they were great!. I served them with a pizza dipping sauce and the platter was cleaned out. My question – is there any way to adapt these to make a sweet pastry? A Cinnamon Raisin Twist perhaps?

    How about using our recipe for Soft Cinnamon Twists? I think it’ll be just what you’re looking for… PJH

    Reply
  24. mailbag

    If I want to make ahead and freeze these, can I do what you suggested on the blog when making Flakey Cheese Twists? AS MENTIONED:

    Tips from our bakers
    Want to make, shape, freeze, then bake these cheese twists on demand? It’s easy. Prepare twists right up to the point of baking: shape, place close together on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush with egg wash BUT WITH THE PIZZA TWIST VERSION, INSERT “BRUSH WITH GARLIC OIL OR OLIVE OIL INSTEAD OF THE EGG WASH”. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, and freeze twists till solid; this will take about 90 minutes. When frozen, remove twists from the baking sheet, and wrap well in plastic. When you’re ready to serve, there’s no need to thaw first. Simply remove twists from the freezer, place on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown.

    It would be GREAT to make these ahead so I could have them on hand whenever I get the urge for pizza twists…

    The difference is, the pizza twists are yeast-based and should really rise before baking. So if you planned ahead enough to thaw/let rise, then sure, you could do just as you say above. PJH

    Reply

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