I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed Italian breadsticks, aka grissini. Some grissini are soft, while others are drier. But no matter where you’ve had grissini, the homemade ones are best. Here’s our favorite family recipe!
Active prep time: 8 minutes (dough mixing) and 25 minutes (shaping breadsticks)
Inactive prep time: 15 minutes (yeast rising) and 40 minutes (dough rising)
Bake time: 10 to 12 minutes
7/8 cup warm water (110°F)
1 teaspoon Rapid Rise® Yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached white flour
Prepare the Dough:
1. In a small sauce pot, heat the water.
2. While water is heating, place the yeast in a 2-cup metal or wood bowl (do not use glass or porcelain, as these cold elements will halt the rising process of the yeast).
3. When water is barely warm, pour it slowly into the bowl with yeast; gently swirl the bowl around.
4. Cover the yeast-water mixture with aluminum foil; set it aside on a wood surface or trivet; let it rise for 15 minutes. Do not set the yeast on marble, granite or tile surface, as the cold surface will halt the rising process.
5. After 15 minutes, transfer the water-yeast mixture to a 2-quart metal, wood or plastic mixing bowl (no porcelain or glass).
6. Gently stir in the olive oil, salt, black pepper and fennel seeds.
7. Gradually (a little at a time) and with a wooden spoon, add the flour until a sticky dough has formed.
8. Transfer the sticky dough onto a lightly-floured wood surface.
9. Gently knead the dough until it is uniform and soft.
10. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl; cover with aluminum foil.
11. Set bowl with dough aside on a wood surface (do not set it on marble, granite or tile surface) away from draft.
12. Let dough rise for 40 minutes.
Shape the Breadsticks or Grissini:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Lightly flour a flat work surface.
3. Transfer dough onto floured work surface.
4. Shape the dough by gently stretching and patting it outwards until it forms a 12 X 8-inch rectangle.
5. Using a pizza cutting wheel or a sharp knife, cut 3/4-inch wide strips (crosswise) to measure 8 inches in length.
6. Without using too much flour (the dough should grasp your fingers and not slide away), gently roll the dough into a 14 to 16-inch long piece.
7. Fold the dough in half, forming a loop at one end – place the shaped breadstick dough on a parchment-lined 18 X 12-inch baking sheet.
9. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper – continue shaping and placing looped dough pieces on baking sheet.
Bake the Breadsticks:
1. Place one baking sheet on top oven rack and the other on the bottom oven rack.
2. Bake the breadsticks for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, invert the top baking sheet with the bottom baking sheet; bake for an additional 20 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes, if breadsticks still look white on top, turn them over.
5. Bake the breadsticks for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Serve the breadsticks warm or cold with cheese, olives and a variety of appetizers, together with your favorite wine.
TO REFRIGERATE BREADSTICKS: Place breadsticks in a food storage bag, sealed, or in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
TO FREEZE BREADSTICKS: Place breadsticks in double freezer food storage bags for up to 2 months.
At serving time, transfer breadsticks to a serving platter or basket and let thaw at room temperature for 1 hour.
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real