Grissini. Somehow the word gives me the same effect as grr…, gnarled, groan, grouchy, grumpy! All negative words, negative connotation; must be the ‘gr’ in most of these words. Grissini though, is far removed from all of these. Grissini actually spells all things nice – butter, flour, milk, yeast, salt – something with all of these has to be tasty, right? Crisp, snappy, light and airy and wonderfully tasty, grissini (or breadsticks in layman terms) is highly customisable with regard to flavour – add chopped herbs of your choice (fresh or dried, doesn’t matter), garlic, crushed pepper, chilli, spices, anything that catches your fancy! I found this to be a great teether for my little one when he was around 10 months and had about 2 teeth and was constantly chewing on anything and everything he could lay his hands on – all except his teething toys (everyone knows parents have more fun playing with those rubbery colourful fishes and apples than kids!). He’d chews on it for a while and then throw it away. Even if that meant roughly 10 grissini sticks wasted in a day – about half an hour of your efforts (anything else you’re doing for the kid anyway takes that long, be it washing soiled nappies or sterilising bottles!). But it made me immensely happy that I was already ‘baking’ something for the fellow! The grissini braids are, however, another story, one that needs to be told now. These will take three times as much time to prepare as your usual grissini but are sure to elicit a “wow!” from your guests (you’re not planning to indulge in this labour of love for yourself now, are you?). Simply make grissini dough the usual way, roll the strips a little thinner and about a feet long, then cut them up into three equal parts and lay them side by side, one end pinched, then braid away! Simple, ain’t it ;)?
Recipe adapted from The Guardian.
Plain flour/maida – 3 cups
Salt – 2 tsp
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Spread – 1/3 cup
Milk – ½ – ¾ cup
Sugar – 2 tsp
Active Dry Yeast – 2 tsp
Butter – 2 tbsp
Oil (for greasing) – 1/2 tsp
Warm water – 1/2 cup
Dried oregano – 2 tsp
Add sugar and yeast to warm water and mix. Cover and set aside for 15-20 minutes till bubbly (Read this post for more on how to proof yeast)
Take flour in a wide bowl. Add salt and oregano and mix well Add frothy yeast, ricotta cheese/cream cheese and milk and mix. The dough will be very sticky at first. Persevere and keep mixing with a strong wooden spoon Once it starts to come together, add butter and knead with your hands till the dough turns smooth and elastic
Grease the same bowl with oil and place the ball of dough in it. Cover it with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for an hour or so till it doubles in bulk
Once doubled, punch the dough and knead briefly on the countertop
Preheat oven to 200 deg C
Pinch out small balls of dough and roll into long ropes, thinner than a pencil (see note1). You can either bake these as such for about 20-25 minutes (see note 2) till golden brown on top. Rest the ropes for 10 minutes before you bake them. Else take three ropes, lay them side by side and pinch them together at one end (see note 2). Braid them and pinch ends to seal. Rest grissini braids for 10 minutes before putting them into the oven
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or till golden brown.
1. These ropes become even fatter in the oven. So roll them into ropes accordingly. Braided grissini will be fatter still 2. Oven temperatures and timings may vary. So, keep an eye on your grissini
———————— This is post for Day 7 of the A-Z series Blogging Marathon for the month of Sept. Alphabet – G, Theme – Baking. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32 Logo courtesy : Preeti