Saturday, October 23, 2010


Grissini are sort of like long skinny biscuits, although they are baked longer, so they get hard.  Maybe they are like long skinny biscotti then.  Or dog biscuits for people.  (I found out that dogs like grissini too.)

Anyway you use the same sort of ingredients you use in biscuit-making, and you make a stiff dough as for biscuits.  But then you take a piece about the size of a super ball or a marble, and you roll it out to make a long thin worm, and you bake it.  It's a lot like playing with playdough.

I found out that if you roll these worms out with two hands, gradually spreading your fingers apart as you roll, it makes them stretch to ten inches long, which is what the recipe specifies.  Well, maybe some of mine weren't quite that long.

Here's the recipe I used, from an old Gourmet:

Yield: Makes 32 breadsticks
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 1/2 hr
1/2 cup rye flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus some extra for dusting the counter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives (3 oz), pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water to make egg wash

Special equipment: parchment paper
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, then stir in olives, buttermilk, and butter until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times.  You might have to add more flour if the dough is too wet.

Halve dough and form each half into a 12-inch log. Cut each log into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch-long rope and arrange 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets.

Brush breadsticks lightly with some of egg wash. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes total. Cool on sheets on a rack 30 minutes.

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