Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grissini: Italian Breadsticks

I love bread in almost any form. So, it might not come as a surprise to you that I love breadsticks. No, not the kind that you can get when you call 1-800-pizza, but the kind you get at an authentic Italian restaurant, grissini, crisp and rich in flavor, thin and erratic in shape. Bunker and I really fell in love with these breadsticks at a tiny Italian restaurant outside Malibu, CA. We chatted with the waiter and he told us that they made the grissini (breadsticks) in house, and changed them up everyday by adding rosemary, red pepper flakes, Parmesan or whatever else they thought would be tasty accents to these crispy treats. You could wrap prosciutto or thin slices of cheese around the grissini for an appetizer, or use them like crackers for dips. 

New toy!

I found this recipe on: http://www.sweetgirlconfections.com/2010/12/12/grissini/
These turned out okay...I think I will try a different recipe next time...also...some got a bit darker than I would have liked on the bottom...and my smoke detector also decided they had gotten a bit too brown...that wasn't super fun.

Cort The Beautiful. 

I was watching a history show about the House of Savoy in Italy. First of all, it is a fascinating history, reaching far deeper and wider into history than I ever expected. Second of all, it is a history that is integral to the tasty treat at hand, the grissini. In the late 17th century with the House of Savoy located in Turin (Northern Italy, in the Piedmont region), the young Duke, Victor Amadeus II (Vittorio Amadeo), experienced severe digestive issues, and the court doctor, Don Baldo di Lanzo, was called upon to solve the problem. He enlisted the help of the court baker, Antonio Brunero, to make a very light bread that would be more easily digested. Brunero's solution was to take ghersa, a traditional bread of Turin, and stretch it out into thin strips, so that when baked, the bread is light and crispy. Luckily, this solution aided the Duke greatly, and he was eventually crowned King of Sardinia. So, thanks to the Duke's upset tummy and the imaginative solution of the doctor and the baker, we have a versatile treat that we can all feel good about eating.

This is what I come home to everyday...warms my heart!

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3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons of salt
1 package of yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups of water

1. Gather your ingredients and your food processor. You do not have to use your food processor. You can mix everything together by hand or in a mixer with the dough attachment. But, I was feeling particularly lazy, and the food processor really makes things a bit faster.

2. Combine the flour, salt and yeast in the food processor, and pulse a few times, until fully integrated.

3. With the food processor set to low, add the honey, olive oil and water. Keep the lid on and use the tube on the top to feed the ingredients into the mixture. Otherwise, with the top off, you will have a huge mess!

4. Once fully combined, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

5. At this point you can decide if you need more water or more flour. If you need either, add very little at a time as you knead the dough. Remember, you can always add more, but you cannot take anything back out.
6. Knead for about 5 minutes, until soft and elastic.

7. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

8. Turn the dough out onto your floured surface and punch the air out of the dough.

9. Shape the dough into a large rectangle.

10. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.
11. Using a pizza cutter, going along the long side of the rectangle from one side to the next, cut the dough into long thing strips.

12. Roll each strip into a long cylindrical shape.
13. Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal.

14. Gently place the rolled strips onto the cookie sheet.

15. Begin to preheat your oven to 450, and while the oven preheats, cover the strips to let them rest one last time.
16. Once the oven is preheated, bake the grissini for about 15 minutes, you want them to be lightly browned.
17. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. It is too funny how they sit on top of the couch cushions like cats!