Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Grissini [Bread Sticks]

Bread Sticks from Turin.

It is impossible to talk about Turin and Piemonte without mentioning Grissini. Grissini are a very dry long and thin bread stick. The stories about the origin of Grissini are numerous.

The origin of the grissini is often attributed to the baker Antonio Brennero whom, in 1668 under commission of the doctors to prince Vittorio Amedio II, created this bread with very little humidity to cure of the prince’s ulcers.

Another belief, as indicated in the local dialect, is more interesting. In the 1200’s bread was not sold by weight but by the piece. During this period inflation was rampant and over the century the Gherss (local dialect for bread stick) became lighter and shorter Gherssin (little bread stick).

Today this dry crunchy bread stick is often served with appetizers, such as prosciutto rolled around a grissino, or eaten at the table with a glass of wine while waiting for the pasta to arrive.


100 grams (¼ lb.) Biga
7 grams (¼ ounce) Active Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon Malt syrup (sugar will do fine)
100 dl (1 ¼ cups) warm water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
500 grams (3 ¾ cups)
8 grams (1 ½ Teaspoons) salt


Place the Biga in a large mixing bowl. Dissolve the Malt (or sugar) in the warm water. Stir the yeast into the water and let rise for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl mix the flour and the salt.

Pour the yeast liquid into the bowl with Biga and mix with a spoon to loosen up the Biga. Pour, all at once, the flour mixture into the bowl. Mix at slow speed just until it comes together. A ball will form and slightly separate from the sides. Remove from the bowl to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.

Press into a rectangle, brush with the oil, cover with a dry towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.


Cut the rectangle lengthwise, using your finger as a base to determine the width. Cut crosswise into 4 pieces. Roll each grissino, placing your hands in the middle and stretching toward the extremities and place on a good quality baking pan. Leave about 1 inch between grissini.

Place a casserole pan with 2 cups of water in the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Be careful when you open the oven. Significant steam will be present. Remove the casserole dish and throw a ½ cup of water on the sides of the oven. Place the grissini in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.


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Blogger Q said...

Ah, bread sticks! Haven't had them for so long... They were always my favourite among most of the bread I've seen.

2:22 PM


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