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how to make grissini italian breadsticks

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These delicious Italian crispy breadsticks, called Grissini, are different than the Olive Garden or Pizza Hut varieties we typically see. 

They are super easy to make and make for a perfect homemade snack.   How easy? I’ve often made them in the evening after a long day at work.  They are very rewarding and (for me) a relaxing way to spend an evening. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do here!

What are Italian Grissini Breadsticks?

Grissini apparently originate from the Turin region of Italy which is the northern part of the country.   They are shaped into thin long sticks that you let rise for a few minutes and then bake. 

You can keep them smooth, or you can have fun and twist them.  Mine are smooth simply because I don’t want to spend the time twisting them.  Lazy?  Yes.

So these gorgeously elegant and unique breadsticks are long, and slightly crispy, not the soft, doughy and wide ones we see commercialized in our stores. To make them even more crispy simply bake them a few minutes longer than my recommended time.

Grissini can be plain, or they can be rolled in seeds such as poppy or sesame.   I’ve even rolled them in some powered garlic, but I prefer mine plain or with the sesame seeds.   

But you don’t have to go to an Italian bakery to make these Italian breadsticks, nope, you can make them at home – even tonight! 

How to Make Grissini Breadsticks

The process is quite simple, even if you’re not familiar with any sort of bread-making.   

Basic process summary:

Simply disolve the yeast in water, add the sugar, wait till it foams, add salt, then add the flour.  You knead it till it is well mixed and forms a nice ball of dough.   Then you roll and shape it to make the breadsticks and bake them at 400F for 10-15 minutes. Plus 5 more minutes after you turn them over. 

That’s the basic gist of it.  Now I’ll break out a little more detailed. If you just want to skip to the recipe to print it out use the button:  Jump to Recipe

You start out with getting the yeast to work it’s magic.   If you use the instant yeast that says on the packaging to just add with the flour then go ahead and follow those instructions. I’ve done mine both ways and it came out fine. 

So you disolve the yeast in lukewarm water, about 100F or so and add in some sugar.   After about 5 or 10 minutes it should start to form some air bubbles and get foamy.  

Once that happens, go ahead and add the salt and the flour and start kneading.   I mix the salt and flour together first so I know it’s evenly dispersed. 

 The kneading process by hand can take about 8 minutes or less. 

You’ll know when the dough is ready when it is very smooth, well mixed and forms a beautiful ball of dough that isn’t sticky, but not dry either. 

Forming the Actual Breadsticks

Now that you have the grissini dough ready, you need to form them into long and thin breadsticks. 

Some people will use a rolling pin and roll them out (like you would a pizza dough) and then form them by slicing them into strips and twisting each strand individually.    This is not the way I prefer it done (sounds like too much work!).   

What I recommend is dividing the dough into two.  Then divide each of those into half,  and half again until you get to the point where you can easily tear or divide the dough into pieces about an inch and a half long and a 1/2 inch wide, about the size of a walnut. 

Here’s a picture of some of mine:

grissini dough

You should end up with about 35 or 40 of them.    At this point it’s important to keep a damp cloth or paper towels over them so they do not dry out. 

Okay, now what you do is roll each one out by rolling them back and forth on the counter with the underside of your hand.  As you do this (it takes time to get into a good rhythm), spread your fingers apart to force the breadsticks to become longer and longer. 

I have found you do not want to do this on a floured surface because they will not roll on the counter, they will slide.  Since you want them to roll, they need to slightly grab the surface of the counter to do so and the flour prevents this from happening. 

When you reach the desired length, place on a lightly greased baking pan.   Repeat this until all are completed.   

How Long to Let the Grissini Breadsticks Rise? 

By the time you are finished, most of the early ones are already risen a bit.  Let them all sit a few minutes longer.   They will not rise substantially.    You’ll really see them rise when you bake them.   

I would say a total of 15 minutes to roll out the breadsticks and a few more minutes for the last few. 

How Long to Bake Italian Grissini Breadsticks so they are Crispy?

I recommend baking the Grissini for 10 to 15 minutes at 400F.   Then turn them over and bake about 5minutes.    They will be a nice golden brown at this point.   These are what mine looked like in this batch:

grissini on tray

They will harden when they cool, however if you want really crispy as in crunchy breadsticks, then I would bake them 10 minutes longer.  Just don’t let them burn.   

How to Coat the Breadsticks with Seeds or other Ingredient?

grissini mix of sesame plain

So, I’ve made these breadsticks plain, with garlic powder, and with sesame seeds as you can see above.  I did not have poppy seeds, but I think they would be awesome.  Nonetheless, the same principle applies. 

I tried first just sprinkling the breadcrumbs after I rolled them all out.   

Bad idea.    

Nothing stuck to the breadsticks and it made more of a mess than I anticipated.   

Next time I grabbed a plate and put a bunch of the seeds on the plate and rolled the newly formed breadstick on the plate and then placed on the pan. 

This method worked best.   

The reason I used a plate instead of just the counter is simply because I would have had seeds all over the place without some sort of lip to keep them from mysteriously making their way to the floor or other parts of the kitchen unbeknownst to me until sometime later. 🙂 

Do You Use Dipping Sauce with these Italian Grissini Breadsticks?

Well, if you’re new to making homemade grissini breadsticks like I was a few months ago, it’s easy to think you’d treat these the same as any other breadstick.  

However, when I tried dipping them, it just didn’t taste right.  Perhaps because the crispy outside didn’t absorb and hold the marinara dipping sauce like a softer and wider breadstick would. 

I also found that because of the more crispy texture, that I’d describe these more of a half-pretzel half-bread snack.   

How to Store Homemade Grissini Breadsticks?

Since these aren’t loaded with chemicals and unnatural preservatives, my recommendation is to store them in air tight containers.   

If you don’t have airtight containers that fit the length, and you’re pretty certain they won’t be all eaten up within the next few hours, then I recommend simply placing them in a zipper plastic bag and store them in the fridge. 

If they tend to lose their crispness, then simply warm them up in the oven or a toaster oven.   

Here’s my full recipe for how to make grissini breadsticks!

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Easy Italian Crispy Breadsticks Known as Grissini

Enjoy these fabulous Grissini breadsticks recipe that we use at home. These Italian breadsticks are long, thin and crispy. We use them as homemade snacks that taste great and better than anything in the store.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Grissini Italian Crispy Breadsticks
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 35 breadsticks

Ingredients

  • 3/4 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 - 2 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Disolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with the sugar and wait till it foams about 10 minutes

  2. Add in the salt and flour

  3. Knead until it forms a smooth ball of dough and everything is well mixed. This can take about 8 minutes or even less sometimes.

  4. Divide the dough into small pieces about 1-2" long and 1/2" wide. Use your hands or a dough divider.

  5. Keep the dough from drying out by keeping a damp cloth or paper towels over them as you divide them up.

  6. Roll each piece out on the non-floured counter with your hands until they are the length you want. They should be thin, not thick. The thicker they are the longer they will need to bake.

  7. Let rise for about 8 minutes.

  8. Place on a slightly greased (with oil) pan and bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 400F.

  9. Turn them over and bake for 5 minutes more to make them evenly baked. They should not burn or become dark brown.

  10. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  1. You can make variations of grissini, such as rolling them in sesame seeds or poppy seeds.  You can also roll them in some garlic powder too.   The best method I found is to do this on plate and not the counter where it's too easy for the seeds to slide or roll off.  
  2. To make your grissini crispier, simply bake a little longer. 
  3. Grissini is a great appetizer and served nicely before eating an Italian dinner such as a pasta dish or other recipe. 

I truly hope you try this recipe and that you enjoyed them as much as we do here!  

If you like this recipe, I think you’ll really like my Italian bread recipe too and how to make quick homemade Italian breadcrumbs!

Grazie!   

Liz

www.simpleitaliancooking.com

Enjoy this Italian breadstick recipe for Grissini.  These thin and crispy homemade breadsticks are easy to make and taste delicious!  Goes great as an appetizer before meals and are always a welcome treat for parties. #thinbreadsticks #italianbreadsticks #grissinibreadsticks #grissinirecipe