Monday, 18 March 2013

Italian Breadsticks (Grissini)

Italian Breadsticks (Grissini) make a very healthy snack for children and the entire family. Including a cheesy dip with them is a great way to increase the children's dairy consumption. All of us here including Anjalie love breadsticks and enjoy them as tea time snack. Naz likes them soft and thick and Anjalie and I enjoy them crispy and thin. Regardless, both varieties are made from the same dough but shaped slightly different. I make them every week and store them in air tight containers and we enjoy them during the week. The soft chunky breadsticks should be eaten warm and fresh on the same day. We usually enjoy them with a nice bowl of minestrone or other soups. The crispy ones can be enjoyed with any of your favorite dips. I made my bread sticks with 3 toppings tonight: plain, Italian seasoning-garlic salt and freshly ground pepper-garlic salt. You can use coarsely ground rock salt or sesame seeds or poppy seeds or any of your other favorite topping. This recipe yields around 30-36 crispy bread sticks. Here is the recipe...

You will need:
230-260 ml lukewarm water (more or less)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp instant active dried yeast

For coating any of these/combinations: (optional)
rock salt (coarsely ground) - use sparingly
freshly ground black pepper
dried Italian seasoning/oregano
garlic salt granules (not powder)
poppy seeds
sesame seeds
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil for greasing with pastry brush

I used the bread machine to knead and raise the dough. You can hand knead instead for 15 mins and let it raise for 1 hr in a warm place. Pour the water into a bread pan bowl. Start with 230 ml water and add later as needed. Some days I need 230 ml, some days it is 240 ml and today I needed 260 ml!

Add olive oil next. If your bread machine instruction is to start with yeast reverse the order given here.

Sprinkle flour over the liquids ensuring that it covers the liquid completely.

Add salt in one corner of the pan. Make a shallow indentation in the middle and place the yeast (without touching the liquids). If hand kneading mix all the dry ingredients well, make a well in the middle, add the oil and add the water a little at a time and make a soft pliable dough. Knead for 15 mins.

Set the bread machine to basic dough setting and press start. Here is the dough after the kneading cycle. Leave it covered to raise for 1 hr. The bread machine automatically beeps after the raise time.

After the 1 hr raise time here is the dough that has doubled.

Remove the dough from the bowl/pan and place it on a floured surface. Punch it down.

Roll out into a rectangle of 9 by 8 inches (22.5 by 20 cms)

Cut them into three 8 inch (20 cms) long strips.

Cut each strip lengthwise into 10-12 pieces.

Roll and stretch each piece into 12 inch long breadsticks

Place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with oiled cling film (to avoid sticking) and let them raise for 15 mins. Mean while, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius/400 degrees Fahrenheit (fan assisted).

For adding toppings, before cutting the pieces, oil the top of each of the 8 inch strip with olive oil using a pastry brush and add your toppings. Now cut each of them into 10-12 pieces and roll them out into 12 inch breadsticks. Here is the Italian seasonings-garlic salt topping.

Here is the black pepper-garlic salt topping. For soft bread sticks. Cut each 8 inch piece into 5-6 pieces and roll out into 6-8 inch long bread sticks.

Before placing the breadsticks in the oven remove cling film and spritz/sprinkle with water (for crispy breadsticks). Bake for 15 mins for crispy ones and 20 mins for the soft ones until the top is golden brown.

Serve warm with dip/salad/soup. You can store the crispy ones for a week in a air tight container. If they get soft, you can refresh them in a hot oven for a few mins before serving. Serve the soft breadsticks warm on the same day with a soup of your choice or as part of your dinner.

Sending to Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids – Italian Dishes and Nithu’s page hosted by Sowmya.

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