I think more than for their food, I love Italians for their words. Grissini. This word for breadstick struck me on a personal level because it hybridizes two of the nicknames my mother had for me when I was young, well, young but old enough to be mischievous. The nicknames weren’t so much monikers of endearment as of what-do-you-think-you’re-doing, Grisselda? What-do-you-think-you’re-doing-you-little-Weenie? Grisselda + Weenie = Grissini.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Ingredients: (Make the same dough as for regular pizza dough)
- 1/2 cup warm water (about 110°)
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast (or a cupful of sourdough starter)
- 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting (used all-purpose)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl and for spraying the sticks
- topping of your choice (I used Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tbsp kosher salt and black pepper
- Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl
- Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup, add to dough.
- Knead until dough is smooth, maybe 5 minutes or so.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled container. Cover the container and let the dough ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. The steps that follow will be repeated for each of the four pieces. Keep the pieces you’re not working with covered.
- On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 12 x 8 inches. The exact dimensions are not critical.
- Cut the dough into strips of equal width. A pizza cutter works very well for this.
- Fold each strip over on itself. On an unfloured surface, roll the strip into a long snake. Make it a bit longer than the length of your baking sheet, to allow for spring-back.
- Place the snakes evenly spaced across the width of the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Lightly spray or brush the grissini with olive oil and sprinkle on the topping.
- Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
I burnt my grissini a little bit on the bottom (which sounds like a euphemism), making them even crispier and so tasty. 5 stars. I could have made them thinner and more pencil-like but my oven isn’t very long and I was too impatient to devote labor to wriggling the dough into a worm ribbon. Even like fat fingers they were still crunchy. That was the worst way I could have phrased that. Sorry.
Also, Izzy would like to make an important announcement from her perch at the front door: “Spring is happening right now. Watch.”