You might know these as breadsticks. Grissini is their Italian name. I’ve never really given much thought to making my own grissini, that is until today. I’ve been reading a book that I borrowed from my good friend V. and I can’t quite believe that this cookbook isn’t already on my very crowded bookshelf-The Italian Baker– by Carol Field. I have two other books by this author that I frequently use and I find all of them to be very well researched and easy to follow.
There are a variety of regional Italian breads that I plan on recreating in my kitchen and I decided to start with these breadsticks. They are simple to make and with only one “rise” they don’t take much time at all. I do have to confess that I was a bit skeptical at first, as my dough wasn’t really doubling during the rising period. Our house is cold and it wasn’t until I put the dough close to our fireplace that I noticed any difference in the dough. I decided to bake them anyway and I am happy that I did because they are delicious-crispy, chewy and a little doughy. I plan on making them again and using the malt syrup which was included in the recipe, but which I don’t have on hand. The book stated that you could eliminate the malt syrup if you don’t have it and that’s exactly what I did.
1-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon malt syrup (you can find in a health food market)
1-1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the dough
3-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cups semolina flour for sprinkling
Stir the yeast and the malt into the water in a mixer bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in the 2 tablespoons oil with the paddle. Add the flour and the salt and mix the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook and knead at low speed for about 3 minutes. Finish kneading briefly by hand on a lightly floured surface.
Pat the dough with your hands into a 14″ x 4″ rectangle and place on a well-floured surface. Lightly brush the top with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Sprinkle the dough with semolina flour before cutting and stretching (I also sprinkled dough with sesame seeds). Cut the dough crosswise (lengthwise) into 4 equal portions. Then cut each section into 4 strips, each about the width of a fat finger (mine look thinner-I only made a half a batch of dough and mine didn’t really rise quite enough). The dough is elastic, so pick up and stretch to fit the width of your baking sheet. Place the breadsticks on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
If you’re using a baking stone, put it in the oven 30 minutes before baking. I put my cookie sheet right on top of the preheated pizza stone. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on racks.
We sampled these right out of the oven and they are tasty!