Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises #7 - Grissini (breadsticks)

Oh my goodness.

I had a sourdough scare this week.

I thought I'd killed my starter.


Thank goodness I'd already completed our Sourdough Surprises recipe for the month! 

This month we made these delicious, twisted breadsticks, called grissini.  And you'd never believe how easy they were to make. You just add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix.

That's it.

Then let the dough rest, giving it a few folds along the way, and you're ready to make some breadsticks!

The recipe called for the dough to be topped with olive tapenade, but I chose to try a couple of different fillings. For both, I brushed my dough with butter...

...and the for one, I sprinkled it with bread dipping spices.

Then just stretch and twist. This is a bit messy, and you have to be careful, because the dough really stretches quite a bit, but it goes pretty quickly, and soon you're ready to bake.

For the other half, I chose a sweet topping - brown sugar and cinnamon.

And after 30-40 minutes, all that's left to do is let these babies cool enough to be able to taste.  As you can imagine, the brown sugar and cinnamon ones were the biggest hit. Various members of my family kept grabbing them off of the cooling rack before I could get all of the pictures I wanted...

The bread dipping spices didn't show well after baking, but they added a delicious flavor to the breadsticks. And they went just as quickly as the sweet version.

And there's a happy ending to this post - I was able to revive my starter! It took a few successive feedings using some strong whole wheat flour, but we were back in delicious, bubbly business. I might just make another batch of these to celebrate!

So what flavor did you choose for your grissini? Link up your post, and don't forget to leave some love for all the awesome bakers who posted with us this month!

Grissini (breadstick twists)
(from Delectable Tidbits)

120 grams white bread flour
220 grams stone ground whole wheat flour
200 grams water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
23 grams olive oil
230 grams well fed, 100 % hydration sourdough starter
toppings of your choice

Combine all of the ingredients except for the toppings in a bowl and mix well. You may need to add extra water, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms a medium soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes to form the gluten. (You should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking apart). Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough ferment for 2 – 3 hours, with a fold at 40 and 80 minutes (For the folds: Pat the dough into an 8” x 4” rectangle and fold it like a letter. I usually do this a couple of times. Do not pat it roughly, you want to form air pockets and stretch the gluten but you don’t want to abuse the dough).

At the end of the fermentation time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, flatten each piece into a 6” x 4” rectangle. Brush the rectangle liberally with the toppings of your choice (I used melted butter and cinnamon sugar for half, melted butter and bread-dipping spices for the other half). Cut the rectangle into long strips. You should be able to cut about 8 strips from each piece of dough. Move the dough strips one at a time to the cookie sheet. Pull the dough gently to stretch it to the length of the cookie sheet and then twist the dough into a loose coil from top to bottom. Repeat until all three dough pieces are flattened, brushed with tapenade, cut and twisted. Bake the breadsticks for 30 – 40 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and transfer the bread to wire racks to cool completely before enjoying.



  1. Phew, I was holding my breath there until the end of your post Shelley, and happy to read that your starter survived!
    I made savoury and sweet versions too and just like yours, the sweet one was more popular. Your twists are so neat and even. Lovely!

  2. LOL, I can't tell you how many times over the 4 years I've been baking sourdough that I've killed my starter...glad you were able to revive it!

  3. Glad to here you got your starter, started! Your twists look yummy and I am going to make a batch of sweet twists asap, since I did the savory version~ You can never have to many twists!

  4. I'm so pleased your starter is okay! It's strange to think we've had them for nearly a whole year.

    Beautiful twisty breadsticks. I love the sound of both flavours. Must try the cinnamon version, as I stocked up on my spices yesterday. These are such perfect cosy autumn munchies!

  5. Yum, I made cinnamon sugar ones as well, but yours look like they came out a lot better than mine! What happened to your starter that made you think you'd killed it?! I'm glad it's still alive and bubbling!

  6. Glad to hear that your starter is doing great! Your grissini looks wonderful! It would difficult to stop at just one or two!

  7. Both of your twists look so great! I wouldn't have dipped the first one in olive oil all night long! :) And I am definitely glad to hear that your starter survived!


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