Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parmesan Grissini – Italian Parmesan Bread Sticks

This grissini has its own charm, who can resist the salty sweet smell of the Parmesan, I can’t. I make it many times; this special recipe is from one of my beloved books: ......................(I once wrote about it, you can read about it here). It will stay crisp long after baking (this bread stick is a bit dry, you can put it in a long glass and place it in the room, mine stays crisp for day).The key ingredient of this grissini is the Parmesan cheese, but don’t use the one in a green bottle (you know it!), use the real Parmesan cheese and freshly grate it. I must admit that I try to make it by using that green bottle parmesan once and the result was unacceptable, so this is my warning sign. The dough is so easy to work with and it will be easier if you use a stand mixer, but when using a stand mixer for kneading, you may need about 2-3 tbsp of water because the dough will be quite dry.

Parmesan Grissini – Italian Parmesan Bread Sticks
Makes about 25 grissini (25 cm long)

unsalted butter
whole milk
fresh yeast
(or 1¼ tsp instant yeast)
strong white bread flour or Italian 00 (doppio zero) flour
3 generous tablespoons
grated Parmesan
fine salt
Olive oil for brushing

Melt the butter in a pan, add the in milk and heat it gently until it just feels warm to the fingertips (37-40°C). Whisk in the yeast.

Put the flour, Parmesan and salt in a bowl, then add a little of the milk mixture at a time, mixing it in well with your hands until it forms a dough. Alternatively, mix in a food processor (stand mixer), with a dough hook, for 3 minutes on the first speed, then 6 minutes on the next speed.
Turn the dough out on a clean work surface (you don’t need any flour or oil), and dimple and fold. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas 8.
Repeat the dimpling and folding process and leave for another 30 minutes, again covered with the tea towel.

Cut the dough in half lengthways; flour your work surface and roll each piece out into a big rectangle.
Cut the dough across its width into strips about 1cm wide - you can use a sharp knife against a clean plastic ruler.
Roll each strip with your fingertips, starting at the center and moving outwards in three movements, stretching the dough slightly as you roll. Press each end lightly with your thumb, to make an ‘ear’ shape. Lay on a non-stick baking sheet and leave to rest for 10 minutes, brush lightly with olive oil before baking.
Turn the oven down to 180°C, gas 4 and bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp arid lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

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