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:
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!
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