Impressive and simple bread sticks

Bread sticks, or grissini, as they are called in Italy, are a great favourite. You can have them thin and crunchy (and made this way they keep really well in an airtight container) or you can have them fat and squashy. Either way, they make brilliant nibbles, or accompaniments for soups, salads, and other starters.

Details for the grissini bakealong: Sunday 15 November 2020 at 16.00 UK time (10.00 Mexico City/11.00 Eastern). Zoom link: https://itesm.zoom.us/j/82357903745.

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Grissini (bread sticks)

Impressive and simple bread sticks 4webmaster
Simple and fun recipe for authentic grissini (bread sticks).
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 7 mins
Baking time 7 mins
Course Appetizer, dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 people

Equipment

  • baking tray
  • Pizza Cutter
  • scraper or spatchula

Ingredients
  

  • 300 g Strong white wheat flour
  • 200 g Water
  • 1.5 g Instant yeast OR 3 g dry yeast OR 6 g fresh yeast
  • 3 g Salt
  • 1 tbsp Molasses optional – makes the dough a bit darker
  • 100 g Fine semolina
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Pesto or tomato puree (paste) or tapenade or grated parmesan optional – if you want fat, squashy bread sticks with some flavour/colour
  • 100 g sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nigella seeds optional toppings

Instructions
 

  • Measure the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in it. Add the yeast and add the water on top. Close the well and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Measure in the salt (and molasses if you are using it) and knead well for 10 minutes by hand or machine on the lowest setting.
  • Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, covered with a tea towel. This makes it easier to roll out (see below). If you are in a rush, you can skip this bit but it makes it more difficult to flatten the dough.
  • Scatter half the semolina (and half the seeds if you are using them) onto the counter and place the dough ball on top. Flatten it out into a rectangle using your hands or a rolling pin. It should be no more than 1/2 cm thick. .
  • Brush the top with the olive oil. Scatter the other half of the semolina (or seeds if you are using them) on top. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 1 hour.

To make thin, crunchy grissini (bread sticks)

  • Line a baking tray with non stick parchment and pre heat the oven to 230 degrees C and place the shelf at the highest setting (the one where you can still fit a baking tray in).
  • Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into thin strips, about 1/2 cm wide and as half as long as you would like them to be when they are done.
  • Take hold of each end and stretch them out to double their size.
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  • Lay them on the baking tray. You can crowd them on, they don't spread out.
  • When your tray is full, pop it in the oven and bake them for 5 minutes. These crispy bread sticks do not need a second proof. They will be absolutely crunchy when they are done so you may have to fish one out and see if it snaps in two. If not, put them back in and bake them for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Store what you do not eat in an air tight container.
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To make squashy bread sticks

  • Line a baking tray with non stick parchment and pre heat the oven to 230 degrees C and place the shelf at the highest setting (the one where you can still fit a baking tray in).
  • Thinly spread your pesto/tomato puree/tapenade/grated parmesan over the top of the dough. If you want a variety, divide the dough into different parts and spread a different filling on each part and/or leave part plain.
  • Fold one short side of the dough into the middle and gently press down. Fold the other short side over the top to meet the edge of the dough. As if you were folding an A 4 (81/2×11) paper for a letter.
  • Using your rolling pin, gently flatten this out A BIT just to make sure it's well stuck together.
  • Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into thin strips, about 1 cm wide.
  • Twist each strip of dough. The easiest way to do this is pin one end down with one hand and, using the other hand, just roll the strip away from you.
  • Lay them on the baking tray with space between them because they will spread out a little bit.
  • Cover them with a tea towel and let them rest for half an hour. Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  • Pop them in the oven and bake them for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. These do not keep so well so you may as well eat them up!
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Keyword Bread, Italian bread, Wheat

This recipe first appeared in All You Knead is Bread, now republished as Making Bread At Home.

Covid got you down? Why not continue to bake your way around Italy, learning virtually on our ciabatta and the focaccia e courses!