Julia Child and Carol Field appeared to have so much fun making these rustic breadsticks that I dug in the pantry for an envelope of yeast and made a batch with my son right after watching the episode. This has to be the easiest homemade bread around—mix the dough, let it rise about an hour, then cut, stretch, and bake. They crisp as you let them cool and like to dry out, so stand them on-end in a pint glass and keep them on the counter.
You could make a batch tomorrow and have them for New Year’s Eve (as long as you don’t eat them all!) Picture this nibble setup: fennel and orange sausage from Artisan, domestic caviar, (buy it at Montana Fish Co here in Bozeman, serve it with crème fraîche and finely diced shallots), some marcona almonds, lovely cheeses…add the bubbly, your homemade grissini and it’s a party!
Adapted from Carol Field’s Grissini recipe, referenced here on SF Gate. (But do check out the Julia Child cooking shows on PBS, they’re the best!)
makes 32 long, thin breadsticks
- ¼ ounce yeast (active-dry or instant, 1 envelope = .25 ounces = 2.25 teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp barley malt syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour or 2 cups AP and 1 cup whole wheat
- ¾ cup semolina flour
- additional olive oil and sea salt for baking
Mix barley malt (or honey) into the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. If you are using active-dry yeast, let it proof for 5 minutes. Instant yeast? You can move right ahead to mixing.
In mixing bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle, add the proofed yeast and water, olive oil, butter, and salt. Mix briefly then add the flours. Mix to combine then change to dough hook and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand on lightly floured board.Stretch dough into an approximate rectangle on a large cutting board or other surface where you will let the dough rise. Use a rolling pin to help you get it to end state of 14 x 6 inches. Rub a drizzle of olive oil over the top of the dough (use your hand, it's moisturizing), and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let rise until double, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F about half way through the rise time. Prepare two sheet pans by lining with a sheet of parchment paper or rubbing on a drizzle of olive oil. When dough has risen, remove plastic wrap and sprinkle dough rectangle with sea salt. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough in half crosswise (the 6-inch way) and each half in half again (same direction), so you have 4 pieces. Cut each of the 4 pieces into 8 thin slices (same direction). Pick up each slice and stretch it from the approximate 6-inches to the length of your sheet pan and set if down, pressing on the ends. Position the bread sticks as close as possible without touching. You should be able to get 16 breadsticks on each pan. Bake until just starting to turn golden, about 15–20 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!