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. Image


Italian Breadsticks

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


  1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup, add to dough.
  3. Knead until dough is smooth, maybe 5 minutes or so.
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. 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.
  8. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 12 x 8 inches. The exact dimensions are not critical.
  9. Cut the dough into strips of equal width. A pizza cutter works very well for this.Image
  10. 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.ImageImage
  11. Place the snakes evenly spaced across the width of the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  12. Lightly spray or brush the grissini with olive oil and sprinkle on the topping.
  13. Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  14. 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.”



10 thoughts on “Grissini

  1. When your ‘mommy dearest’ book comes out, I want to be remembered for ALL the names I have for you….PS. Dear Izzy…the squirrels are just waking up and will be out to play soon!

    1. Depending on the spices you use for topping, I think it would go great with soup–if you make them a little thicker they have more crumb to sponge around in soups. But I dipped mine in pizza sauce as snack. Either way!

  2. Goodness gracious, your ability to move seamlessly from the most profound, serious reflections and poetry in one post to childhood humor and euphemism-esque phrases in another delights me 🙂 I am grateful that you bring all into the consciousness of your readers! Also, I am celebrating along with Izzy over the views out the windows and novel feel of warm sun on our faces at long last!

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