Thin 'n' Crunchy Italian Breadsticks (Grissini)

These light-as-air, pencil-thin Italian breadsticks are said to have originated in 17th-century Piedmont (where they were created for an archduke with a sensitive tummy!). While they're a delightful accompaniment to any Italian meal, they also make tasty hors d'oeuvres, with or without a bowl of seasoned olive oil for dipping.
Prep
25 mins
Bake
12 to 14 mins
Total
1 hr 22 mins
Yield
About 3 dozen breadsticks
Thin 'n' Crunchy Italian Breadsticks (Grissini)

Instructions

  1. Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, supple dough.
  2. Divide the dough in half, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rest and relax for 15 minutes (or for up to an hour or so; work it into your schedule as you see fit).
  3. Working with one half of the dough at a time, pat or roll it into a 9" x 13" rectangle. Brush the dough lightly with the egg white and water, and sprinkle it with the seeds. Roll the dough lightly with a rolling pin to press the seeds in.
  4. Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut the dough (the short way) into strips about 3/8" wide. Twist the ends of each strip in opposite directions (as though you were wringing out a washcloth) to make a "twist," and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
  5. Cover the breadsticks and let them rest and rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until they've puffed noticeably.
  6. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  7. Bake the breadsticks for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For the crunchiest breadsticks, place "twisted" breadsticks on two pieces of parchment. About 30 minutes before you're ready to bake them, place a baking stone in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Transfer the breadsticks on parchment to the hot stone, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
  • Substitute King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour for half of the Italian flour, if desired.