Recently on a romantic, 3-day trip to Rome, I drank a great, pre-dinner Aperol spritz (aperitivo) while eating some homemade grissinis. These simple Italian breadsticks were crispy and crunchy with a slightly nutty touch and finished with olive oil. Here’s the recipe I learned for them when I lived in Torino 10 years ago. Andiamo nella cucina! (Translation: Let’s go into the kitchen.)
2 cups Bread flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar or agave or honey
3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for the bowl
Optional version: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary) sea salt, flavored salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the 1/2 cup of flour, water, honey (or sugar or agave) and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine and let sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should be foamy. Add the remaining flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment until combined, and then on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny.
Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and transfer it to a small bowl. Drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the dough and roll it around until it has been coated. Cover with a plastic wrap, and let sit undisturbed in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 425°F and line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape the dough into a rough, flat rectangle. Slice a finger-sized piece from the long length of the rectangle with a sharp knife. Roll it into a long, irregularly shaped snake and place on the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough, placing the dough snakes about 1/2″ apart. The dough contains enough olive oil that you shouldn’t need flour to roll it out. If, for some reason, it is sticky, sprinkle a small amount of four on your surface before rolling.
Let the grissini rest for a few minutes before baking, so they puff up a bit, about 15 minutes. Place the baking sheets with grissini into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. At 5 minutes, rotate the pans and check their progress. The grissini are quite thin, so they will burn easily! Keep an eye on them and take them out when they are golden brown.
Carefully move the grissini to a cooling rack to cool. Once they are cool, store them in an airtight container (for up to 2 to 3 days) until ready to serve.
Makes 24 to 26 Torinesi Grissini
Adeline’s Tip: If you would like to make several different varieties of grissini from a single batch, punch the dough down and divide into portions. To add herbs, knead about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh herbs into the dough and roll into snakes, as above. To add seeds, make the snakes as above. Measure out a couple of tablespoons of seeds and coax them into a long, thin line—as long as your snakes but fatter. Lay your snake over the seeds and press gently to make the seeds adhere. Place snakes on the baking sheet. Pick up one end and twist several times to create a swirl. Let rest, as instructed above, before baking.
About Adeline: Adeline Borra is a private French chef and culinary instructor at Cook’s Warehouse. Born in Montpellier, France and raised in the wine region of Burgundy, she’s trained in high-profile kitchens across France and Spain. After spending three years in Torino, Italy, she and her family moved to Atlanta in 2006. Learn more, visit macuisinebyadeline.com