Bread Sticks are long, thin pieces of crispy dry bread baked either plain or seasoned with salt or flavoured with garlic, poppy seeds, paprika flakes, sesame seeds, caramelized onions, honey and herbs like rosemary, thyme etc. They are also popularly known as Grissini or Grissini sticks.
Breadsticks originated way back around 14th century in the city of Turin at Italy. Grissini are very popular in Spain as well. Traditionally, the original design of making the bread sticks was hand rolled or sometimes twisted in various shapes. The secret in making the best of breadsticks was to always achieve the crisp and dry texture without allowing the bread to burn.
Breadsticks (grissini) are generally pencil-sized sticks of crisp, fresh baked dry breadsticks with Italian flavours; crusty on the outside and soft and tender inside. They will be gone the moment they come out of the oven! A basic bread stick recipe uses flour, water and salt. Apart from this many chefs use almost any type of yeast dough to make breadsticks, though pizza dough is most suitably used. Once the dough is rolled out flat, it is cut into strips, rolled out into cylindrical sticks and then baked till golden and crispy. Generally the thickness and softness of breadsticks varies greatly from region to region, ranging anywhere from pencil thin and crispy to several inches thick and soft. They are usually slender, slim loaf of bread served as a complimentary side dish at meals or often placed on the table in restaurants as an appetizer.
Sources states that the history of Breadsticks, or “grissini” originated in Turin, Italy in the 1600s. Before then, bread was scarcely made using proper hygiene, and rarely baked. As the story goes, in the late 1600s a young Duke became sick with food poisoning and his father suspected it was due to bread he had eaten. He remembered himself as a child getting sick just the same, and that his mother baked bread until it was hard and crispy and fed him nothing else to help remedy his illness. He tried his mother’s old recipe to help his son, and shortly thereafter the young Duke recovered. After his recovery breadsticks became the preferred bread for royalty in all of Italy. Since then many forms of breadsticks have come along, including biscotti in the early 1700s. Biscotti, which is Italian for “baked twice” is now a side dish served with coffee or espresso.
Breadsticks are basically consumed by the Americans, Europeans (mainly Spain, Italy and Greece), Australians and some parts of Asia. There are various ways of eating the breadsticks. Generally they are commonly served with soups. They are part of bread basket which also contains dinner bread rolls etc. Bread sticks can be flavoured with herbs, cheese, tomato puree, garlic etc. When flavoured, bread sticks add more flavour to soups.
In fine dining restaurants, bread sticks are served with tossed salads, spaghetti etc. They can also be combined with ingredients like Prosciutto to form classical starter. They are often offered at wine tasting sessions to cleanse the palate in between tasting wines or can be eaten as a snack when had plain or topped with parmesan. Breadsticks or Biscotti can also be served with coffee or espresso, dip them in your drink for 1 to 2 seconds before eating. Cheesy bread breadsticks tastes extremely delicious when you dip them in garlic butter or plain melted butter.
To prepare these thin, crispy, crusty pencil like-shaped Breadsticks, firstly warm milk and keep aside. Stir together yeast and sugar in a cup. Pour a little milk in yeast, stir well, and keep aside to froth till double.
Take a slightly warmed mixing bowl. Sieve in flour and salt. Make a well in centre. Sprinkle seeds onto flour. Mix butter into warmed milk. Pour this in centre of flour. Pour yeast mixture too. Mix and knead well till very smooth and elastic. Add warm water as required for kneading. Cover and keep aside for 45 minutes, or till double. Lift dough and punch and knead for 3-4 minutes.
Shape into a thin log. Cut into 30-33 parts. Shape each part into a finger shape. Grease a baking sheet well, place fingers on it. Brush with some oil or butter. Keep aside for 20 minutes. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 10 minutes. Thereafter bake at 170C for 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool first in sheet then on racks till completely cooled. Serve with hot tea or coffee or even soup and the remaining store in airtight jar.
For detailed recipe on the ingredients and quantities used, click on the below link:
Bread making is a prime example of this phenomenon. Homemade bread or breadsticks is substantially tastier than store-purchased bread as it isn’t laden with preservatives, is very inexpensive to make, and doesn’t take all that much time, either. Homemade breadsticks tastes better, are fresh, more nutritious. In fact, bread is quite easy to make at home, and you only need a few staple ingredients to make a simple loaf. Hence keeping this in mind, do give this a try.