The Fresh Loaf

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Grissini: Italian Bread Sticks

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DonD's picture
DonD

Grissini: Italian Bread Sticks

Setting:


'Snowmageddon 2010', end of Round 1, waiting for Round 2. Between 10 to 20 additional inches of snow expected by tomorrow. We are digging out and digging in. It gives me a chance to try something new.



Background:


'Obelisk' is an excellent Italian Restaurant in Washington DC. The Chef/Owner, Peter Pastan is a brilliant self-taught Chef who has traveled extensively throughout Italy to bring back the authentic, simple and pure dishes of regional Italian Cuisine. I have had many memorable meals there and the one that stood out the most was a special 9-course dinner that he cooked for a group of us using a half a dozen different kind of wild mushooms that we had picked that day. He always serves homemade breads, beautiful Ciabattas, Focaccias, Tuscan Loaves, Dark Sourdough Whole Wheat Walnut Breads and his signature 24 inch long Grissini that he learned to make during a week-long stint in an Italian Bakery. Many times when we were the last diners of the evening, Peter would give us all the leftover Grissini which were always prominently displayed in a tall ceramic vessel on the serving table in the middle of the dining room. They would be great with a Capucchino the next morning. The long and slender amber colored sticks, dusted with semolina were crunchy with a slightly soft core and tasted nutty, slightly yeasty with a nice balance of saltiness and caramelly sweetness.


Recently, in the Food Section of the Washington Post, there was an article about local Chefs making their own Breads and Peter was featured with the recipe for his famous Grissini. I was thrilled that finally I would be able to duplicate those delicious breadsticks.


Peter Pastan's Recipe:


- 1 Cup Warm Water (90 degrees)


- 2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast


- 1 Tb EVOO, plus more for greasing the dough


- 1 Tb Honey


- 1 Tsp Salt


- 2 Cups Flour, plus more for the work surface


- Semolina for forming the Breadsticks


My Variations:


While mixing the dough, I had to add more Flour to get the right workable consistency so I also added a little more salt.  From my taste memory, I detected a touch of Baking Powder. I thought that the amount of Yeast would be too much so I reduced it slightly. Essentially, I followed the recipe except for the following variations:


I used 2 1/2 Cups KA AP Flour, 1 Tb Instant Yeast, 1 1/4 Tsp Grey Sea Salt and added 1 Tsp Baking Powder.


Procedures:


Combine Water, Yeast, Oil, Honey, Baking Powder and Salt and mix with Flour in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed for 5-6 minutes until dough is smooth and supple. Transfer dough to floured work surface, do one french fold and roll out dough to a rectangle 6"W X 16L".



Transfer dough to an oiled baking sheet, brush oil on top, cover in plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Dust top with Semolina and sprinkle liberally on side of baking sheet. Using a 6-inch dough scraper, cut 1/2 inch  thick strips of dough, roll in Semolina and transfer to parchment paper stretching dough to about 14" long.



The original recipe calls for baking temperature of 450 degress for 12-15 minutes but I baked mine on a baking stone in a 400 degrees preheated oven for 10 minutes.



   


I was quite pleased with the results. They tasted pretty close to the original version.


Happy Baking!


Don

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yours look like they might not be as crunchy as the ones I made for the Super Bowl party we went to. They got eaten but they were so crunchy my wife complained to much so. I'll have to try this recipe.


Did you top them with anything like seeds or garlic salt?


Eric

DonD's picture
DonD

The very center is slightly chewy but if you leave them out for 6 hours, they are totally crunchy. My wife prefers them that way. I do not put any topping on them. I like just the simple taste of good olive oil, honey and semolina.


Don

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Those look great, Don.  Are there any special storage instructions?


What are you going to do for round 3 of Snowmaggedon?  Looks like you'll be at home for a couple more days, given the forecast.

DonD's picture
DonD

The recipe makes about 2 dozens sticks so they get eaten pretty fast. I just keep them out in an open jar and they just disappear in a few hours. I would not keep them more than a day anyway since like a yeasted baguette, they would get stale.


Snowmageddon Round 2 is in full force now! I have some dough in bulk fermentation...


Don

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you for the great photos and recipe!  It looks cold and pretty outside...happy baking Don!


Sylvia

DonD's picture
DonD

The photo was just the calm before the next round. Here is the picture for Round 2 this morning.



Don

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

To bad you can't bake with that : )  Hope you can get out an about soon!


Sylvia 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

too.  We have snow in Korea too!  Not as much, hardly worth mentioning.  At 5:30 am rain but by 7am, everything was white!  The snow pictures remind me of driver's ed... "What's wrong in this picture?"  


With the bread sticks, I'm thinking about Eric's garlic idea.  I could taste garlic as I read it.  I used your refinements, Don, but I have just received a jar of garlic honey, chopped garlic submerged in honey, so put in a rounded tablespoon of that.  The whole kitchen smells of garlic!


Mini

DonD's picture
DonD

I have never heard of garlic honey before but how did it turn out? I used clover honey but next time I might try lavender.


Don

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hey!  Before yesterday I had never heard of it before either!  Great flavor and no interference with the tablespoon of yeast as far as I could tell.  We are busy munching on them while the snow keeps coming down.  One would think it could only come from garlic flowers.  Well... I don't know if the garlic was blanched before chopping and mixed with the honey or if it was put in raw.  The elixir sure is potent smelling, like fresh garlic.   I put my mixer bowl out into the snow to slow down the fermenting and clear the air for a little while until I got around to shaping them.  The garlic baked up  just right for us.


The fit Korean who gave it to us eats a small spoonful in the morning before breakfast.  Like a daily elixir for good health.  One way to fend off cariers of the "flu" I suppose.   I'm glad I found an excellent way to use it!  I'll be making these again.


Mini


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Would also taste very good in bread.  My home is surrounded by Avacado orchards on the hillsides.  CA is one of the largest producers.  The other day I purchased my first jar of local avacado honey, mainly because the color caught my eye.  It's almost black and the flavor  reminded of me sorghum syrup or even molasses and just a little sweeter.


Sylvia

DonD's picture
DonD

I have never heard of avocado honey before but it would be interesting to try different types of honey and see if the subtle flavor will come through.


Don

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Wow, they look very good and I bet very tasty too!  Wish I had the patience to make those.  Maybe one day... :-)  Al

DonD's picture
DonD

No patience needed. It only takes 2 hours from start to finish to make them.


Don

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

In Philadelphia! I can not believe that we are getting slammed again...Looks like an additional 12" and  the sun has the come not up yet.


Your bread sticks look amazing....I can almost taste them...


Judd

DonD's picture
DonD

From the forecast, Philadelphia will get it worse than DC for Round 2. At least you can look forward to sunny France!


Don

Beachbaker's picture
Beachbaker

Thanks, Don.  Can't wait to make these.  It is a snowy blizzardy day on Maryland's Eastern Shore.


Snowy marsh

DonD's picture
DonD

We have a place on Maryland's Western Shore just North of Solomons . We were going to spend last weekend down there but decided at the last minute to stay in the city. I am glad we did otherwise we would have been stuck down there. On the other hand we are stuck here too...


Don

Beachbaker's picture
Beachbaker

Can you explain to me how to easily upload photos.  My loaves are getting better and I really want to brag!  I know you understand.

DonD's picture
DonD

On the Home Page, click on FAQ's at the top of the page then click on 'The Photo FAQ - How to post photos' for detailed instructions. Once you have mastered that, you are ready to brag but remember the first rule of bragging, you have to be able to back it up! LOL.


Don

frenchcreek baker's picture
frenchcreek baker

Hi there,


Looks like firing up the oven and baking these bread sticks is a good way to stay warm AND fed. Just passed along your info to my brother and his wife burrowed in at Alexandria. i think they will like this idea better than my suggestion to build an ice toilet like my husband did in Antarctica in case the plumbing freezes! 


Do you happen to know the date of the article in the Post? I want to try to track it down.


May you always have someone else who can shovel your driveway,


anne


 

DonD's picture
DonD

is the date of the article. The way it is going, we may need an ice toilet!


I am sure you can have someone else shovel your driveway if you pay them well.


Don

frenchcreek baker's picture
frenchcreek baker

Thanks Don for the issue date.


I'll bet you could get that driveway shoveled for a few batches of those grissini! 


Too bad I am on the West Coast.


cheers,


Anne


 

frenchcreek baker's picture
frenchcreek baker

Hi Don,


I tracked down the Post article. I will post it!


Thanks,


Anne

frenchcreek baker's picture
frenchcreek baker

Hi Don,


Thanks for the Washington Post date.  


Below is the link to the food section article you mentioned:


IN BAKING BREAD, CHEFS FIND NEW ROLE


http://tinyurl.com/krlcrr







The day after the "In Baking Bread" article there was another article:


Tales of the Testers: Rolling in Dough
http://tinyurl.com/y9rnha2
Chocolate Cherry Baguette recipe


cheers,
Anne

 

DonD's picture
DonD

For your research.


Don

longueville's picture
longueville

Thats not bad grissini! Impressed!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mini is your garlic honey something you could make or do you think it is flavored by the bees pollinating the plants?


I'm thinking of crushing some cloves and letting it infuse for a day or so. I don't think you would want to make more than you would use in a few days.


Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I doesn't look like the bees did it.  It is chopped (not crushed) garlic floating in a jar of honey.  Infusing sounds good.   Try it and see.


Mini