Try Try A Grissini
A few weeks ago, I got my hands on one of those official culinary textbooks. I’d actually never seen one before and it was a vast difference from most cookbooks. It was, like, science. Everything was very well documented and very perfectly explained. Surely, I thought, I could make any recipe in this book without a problem.
Turns out I was very wrong. The issue was that all of the recipes assumed that you were making enough for, say, a restaurant. When I decided to make grissini (thin bread sticks) using the recipe in this book, it turns out that it would have made something like 600 sticks. That’s a bit more than I needed by about a factor of 20. So I tried to do some dividing and come up with a workable recipe. Turns out that was easier said than done because I ended up with fractions of ingredients. It wasn’t pretty.
Ultimately though, I did find a recipe that worked and I ended up with these beauties.
So the photo above was from the successful batch, but before I get to that I want to go back to the failure.
I actually thought this was going to be an easy recipe and I think I got too cocky because of it. I mean how hard could it be to make bread sticks?! I did some crazy substitutions. I didn’t let the dough ferment long enough. I didn’t roll them correctly.
It was just a crazy mess of disasters that sometimes happens in baking and is always a humbling experience. I put a bunch of different spices on the failed version and they looked like this.
Now. Let’s be clear. These guys were perfectly edible. And in fact someone who tried both versions said they preferred what I considered to be the failed version. I just wasn’t really happy with them because they weren’t what I was envisioning. I wanted the crispy browned sticks that were thin and salty and delicious. And you know, round.
These were square and more doughy which wasn’t what I wanted.
Ok. So after that fail, I decided to try again a few days later and be diligent. In fact, I decided to try an entirely different recipe that would be a bit easier to scale down.
Yield: 32 bread sticks
270 g (scant 2.5 Cups) all-purpose flour
42 g (1/4 Cup) whole wheat flour
1 Teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 Teaspoon salt
200 g water at room temp (if you don't have a digital scale, 236g water = 1 cup so this would be a scant cup. If your dough is too sticky then add more flour a bit at a time.)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Whatever toppings you want (for this version I just used kosher salt and pepper)
1) Combine the flour(s), yeast, and salt in a bowl. Then mix the olive oil and water in a cup.
2) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well until the dough forms a ball.
3) On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 4-6 minutes until it soft and elastic.
4) Let the dough ferment, loosely covered, for 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl.
5) Once the dough has at least doubled in size, cut it in half with a dough cutter or serrated knife and then roll it out into a rough rectangle and using a pizza cutter, slice it up!
6) Take each of these strands and roll them a bit to form the bread stick.
7) Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dust with whatever toppings you want.
8) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until they are lightly browned and super crispy.
9) Once they are out of the oven, cool them on a rack for maximum crispiness. Then put them in some kind of artsy cup or bowl.
Adapted from a Wild yeast recipe.
If you are making this without a mixer, combine the flour(s), yeast, and salt in a bowl. Then mix the the olive oil and water in a cup. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix well until your dough forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 4-6 minutes until it soft and elastic.
Then let the dough ferment, loosely covered, for 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl.
Once the dough has at least doubled in size, cut it in half with a dough cutter or serrated knife and then roll it out into a rough rectangle and using a pizza cutter, slice it up! You can make the other half right away if you want for the full 32 bread sticks or you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months without a problem.
Next is a crucial part that I missed on my failed attempt. Take each of these strands and roll them a bit to form the bread stick. For some reason I thought that if I cooked them as is, they would puff up and form a stick. NOT TRUE. Just lightly roll them though until they form the desired shape.
Then lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dust with whatever toppings you want.
Bake these bad boys at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until they are lightly browned and super crispy. My oven really sucks and loses heat like crazy so maybe check them at 20 minutes.
Once they are out of the oven, cool them on a rack for maximum crispiness. Then put them in some kind of artsy cup or bowl obviously.
Ok. So this recipe isn’t that hard actually. It is pretty similar to a pizza dough recipe, just slice it up before baking instead of making pizza.
What’s nice about these bread sticks is that they keep really well for days. I snacked on them for an entire week and they were just fine.