One of my greatest loves in baking with yeast. I remember only being about 12 years old and buying a packet of dried yeast to make my first loaf of bread. It wasn’t the best bread I had tasted but it lit a fire in my “baking belly” for yeast cookery. The idea that with a few simple ingredients we can create a wide variety of baked goods. My fascination with yeast has never waned and I have many cookbooks on the subject. One of my favorites is “The Italian Baker” by the award winning writer Carol Field.
These knobbly breadsticks are a perfect example of the wonderful recipes contained within this cookbook. They are crunchy, wholesome, and it’s hard to stop reaching for another. The recipe is simple. Why don’t you try it?
Grissini Torinesi from The Italian Baker by Carol Field
1 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
1 tablespoon malt syrup
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup semolina flour
I prepare mine in the stand mixer but it could all be done by hand.
Mix the yeast, malt and warm water together in your stand mixer bowl. Allow to stand 10 minutes or so until bubbly. Add the oil, flour and salt and start mixing slowly with the dough hook until it all comes together. Continue to knead with the dough hook for about 3 minutes. Remove dough and knead a little by hand to bring it together.
Place the dough back in the bowl and rub the surface with a little oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled. That could be an hour or more.
Preheat your oven to 225C/ 450F
To shape – sprinkle the dough with semolina flour. Cut the dough crosswise into 4 equal pieces then cut each into 5 strips. You should have 20 strips. The dough is lovely and elastic so pick up each strip and stretch and pull until you have nice long breadsticks. Roll in more semolina if you like. Place each one onto a baking sheet (there should be no need to grease because the semolina will stop the sticking). Bake for 20/25 minutes until nice and crunchy. If you have a pizza stone the breadsticks can be baked directly on the heated stone.