Making grissini shows you’ve gone to real effort to make a special meal, and they are perfect served with antipasto. The bread sticks are very delicate and need to be handled with care. The trick is to let the dough prove slowly, and when it has doubled in size, to cut and stretch it into sticks by hand. If the dough is left too long, the grissini can break when you’re trying to make them.
- 25 g fresh yeast (or 3 tsp (12 g) dried yeast if unavailable)
- 320 ml warm water
- 1 tsp liquid malt extract
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lard, softened
- 625 g plain flour
- sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 1 hour
Put the yeast and warm water in a bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, including a pinch of salt, and use your hands to mix into a dough. Transfer to a work surface and knead for 10–15 minutes, until smooth, shiny and elastic. (The dough can also be made in an electric mixer with a dough hook.) Roll the dough into a log 10 cm wide, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Slice the log into strips 2 cm wide and use your fingers to pull the strips into long sticks. Place on trays and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until lightly coloured and dry. The grissini can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.