Feb 4, 2013


Sunday, Feb. 3. 10:30 am. Besides Italian cookies, I love Italian salty snacks. Now and then, I buy some here and always when in Italy.

Store bought snacks are not bad, maybe even better then the home made version, but I can't help the impression that my own creations are better for me than the mass production. But then again, I do have time.

Grissini. Originated probably in about 1600, in Torino. The story has it that a doctor recommended to the sun of the Duke of Savoia, who had digestion problems, to eliminate bread and eat only crunchy grissini.

I was happy to come across the recipe. I didn't know you can make them at home. Obviously, I didn't think much. It happens. And they there were. Basic, easy, very much like a pizza dough.

To be more exact, like a pizza crust. You can make them thinner, then they will be crunchy, or thicker and they will be chewy. I had some of both, sometimes on one stick. Hania (my 11 year old) asked me if she could make a suggestion. She preferred them thin and crunchy. She enjoyed them either way even though she always leaves pizza crust on the plate. They are only slightly salty, delicate. A perfect thing if you want to eat something but don't know what. Or you can make a meal, adding prosciutto, cheese, olives, tomatoes....all those good things.

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 35 min preparation + 1 h rising + 20 min baking = 1h 55min


500 g (3 1/3 cups) flour + 1 Tablespoon
15 g (.5 oz) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
280 ml (1 cup+2Tbls) tepid water (about 30C, 86F)
50 g (1/4 cups) olive oil + some for brushing
8 g (1 teaspoon) salt


Crumble yeast in your fingers and put the crumbs in a small bowl. Add sugar and about 50 ml (4 Tablespoons) of water, taken from the 280 ml. Mix it till all mixed.

Dissolve rest of water with salt. Add oil.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, sift flour. Pour in the yeast mix in the middle. Using a paddle attachment, combine it for about 1 minute. Add the water mix. Keep mixing for about a minute. Change the attachment to the needle. Kneed the dough for about 10 minutes.

Turn the oven on very low heat, 50 C/122F, for 5 minutes and then turn it of. Prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper sifted with some flour (1/2 Tablespoon). Transfer the dough onto the baking sheet. Make a shape of a rectangle, about 20/30cm (8/12inch). Brush the dough with olive oil (cover all well) and sift the rest of the flour on top.  Place it in the oven for about 1-2 h, till it doubles in volume. Take it out of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F (fan forced function). Prepare another two or three, if you have it, baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Slice about 20cm (8inch) long and 1cm (.4inch) thick pieces of dough with a big, long knife. Stretch it just a bit (or not, it might brake) to fit the width of a baking sheet. The thinner you make them, the faster they going to bake and the crispier they'll be. Arrange the strips on the baking sheets, about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Place the sheets in hot oven, one in the top 1/3 of the oven, the other in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes. Switch and rotate the sheets half way through baking. Keep observing the oven, they should be only slightly golden. Take them out, let them cool and put them in air-tight bag for good days to come, starting today.

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