Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crunchy Grissini

The idea for those grissini was found on an Italian website, but the recipe is a LOT different and I think that my result is that many times better.
Due to the uneven shape they have people sometimes refer to them as rustic, but in this case I think that taste prevails their shape.
They are not hard to shape although it may seem so - as you may think you just roll the pieces of dough as if making pretzels. No, you form the dough into a log, cut strips as if slicing bread, let it rest a bit so the gluten relaxes and then grab the ends of the piece of each dough and pull slightly so the dough stretches.
I am using heavy whipping cream and that adds another level of richness, but you are really free to use what you have on hand from water to any kind of milk or even yogurt or sour cream.
Really, you should give them a try !

250 - 300 gr flour (2 up to 2.5 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
25-40 ml oil (use olive oil if you have some)
4-5 gr instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 big teaspoon honey or brown sugar
***some extra flour to dust your work surface
***some cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet

Knead by hand or using the bread machine, but make sure you have kneaded the dough for a long time if doing it by hand - somewhere close to 15 minutes.
Combine the yeast, warm cream and honey/sugar and let those sit for 5 to 10 minutes and stir at the end for the yeast to dissolve.
Add the oil, salt and flour and knead and then let rise for 1 hour exactly.
After rising, punch the dough down a bit on a lightly floured surface and form an even log, like a bread loaf.
Let it rest there for 10-20 minutes, for the gluten in the dough to relax and be easier to handle.
Dust your baking sheet and set it aside.
Cut even strips, approx. 1/2 inch wide, with a sharp knife.
Then pick up each strip of dough and pull both ends at the same time, slowly and lay it on your floured baking sheet.
The dough will stretch and it may look uneven - that's good- and you should achieve a 6 to 9 inch long dough strip.

Although mine fit on a single sheet, you may need 2 and make sure you leave some good space between then so they have plenty of space to rise while baking.

Continue until you are done with your dough and bake them in a 375 F preheated oven for 15 to 25 minutes.
They will be crunchy and oh so good.