Dec 13, 2009

Grissini - Breadsticks recipe

Breadsticks are one of the most celebrated and widespread products of Torino's gastronomy and one of the most renowned items of Italian cuisine abroad.

Tradition has the birth of grissini located around 1668, year in which court baker Antonio Brunero invented the long, thin crisp strands of bread as a novelty food for future king Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, who’s health was very delicate and whose frail stomach did not even tolerate soft breadcrumb.

The success of breadsticks was particularly rapid, due to the food’s high digestibiltity compared to common bread, and for the nearly two week conservation without any deterioration.

Among the greatest fans of grissini was Napoleon Bonaparte, who at the beginning of the 19th century, founded a stagecoach service between Torino and Paris mostly dedicated to delivering him what he called les petits batons de Turin, his favorite little sticks from Turin.

Here's how to make your own grissini from scratch:

2.5 kg (5 lbs) unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 lt (6 cups) of water at 50-53°F temperature (41-43°F during hotter months)
30 g (1 oz) yeast (halve quantity during hotter months)
150 g (5 oz) rendered lard (the one that looks like a white paste)
175 g (6 oz) baker’s barley malt (syrup or crystals)
3 tablespoon kosher salt

Knead the flour with 4 cups of water, adding salt, malt and lard to the dough. Dissolve the yeast in remaining water and incorporate gradually, in small amounts at a time.

Work the dough a little more and roll into 7" long ropes, about 1 1/2" thick. Grease the ropes with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and grant them a 2-hour nap.

When ready to continue, cut strands breadthwise into 1" strips and pull them, stretching the strands into long and slender breadsticks, about 22-25 inches long.

Toast them in a hot oven (around 270°C/520°F) until crisp and light brown.

You can reduce the amount of lard and increase the quantity of olive oil. But grissini are what they are mainly because of lard. Just so you know...

Trivia: In the Cathedral of Chieri, a dozen kilometers southeast of Torino, in a 15th century fresco of the baptistry, there is a character depicted eating what appears to be a breadstick.

Images © Food Network, The Nibble, Just Baking.


  1. those look wonderful. love a good crisp bread stick...

    thanks for the warm wishes for my mom...she did great in surgery and is recovering nicely today...

  2. Bread sticks how can we not indulge! Wrapped with the finest ham of the region, this is at the top of my list! Grab some vino!! Great blog, Lola! Chuck xx

  3. I just made grissini the other day! I love them! Wish I had some prosciutto on hand to wrap around them.

  4. Is that your photo? Your photography always has me drooling even before the recipe.

    Lard is my friend.


  5. Deliziosi!

    I have never attempted. Now, I have a good reason. Grazie, cara.

  6. I agree with Erin...I never met lard I didn't like...smiles.

  7. Lola I love this and I love the trivia.

    I want your cookbook/travelbook, full of ideas book. When is it coming out.


  8. Looks delicious! This is definitely my kind of snack...I agree with Renee, a book by you would be fantastic!

    hope you're keeping very well :)

  9. I'll pass on the sticks, but bring on the ham!!

  10. Are you going to write that book SOON? Why don`t you just publish your blog? I always love your extra stories, too.
    Lola, and how is that other story developing? Come on over to my fireplace and tell me!
    haha, the veri word is lonarito - that sounds pretty Italian!

  11. Wow these look good ! I'm off to the kitchen to see if we at least have any pretzels left, because I know we don't have any of these in the house. And I'm wondering why not. Where is that darn stagecoach, he should have been here hours ago... Reminds me of the story of Vatel...

  12. Yum!!! I always leave here hungry!

    Happy Holidays, by the way!

  13. okay, i'm in line for the book too, we need to find that publisher!

    these look awfully yummy, they would go good with your previous post.
    ciao darling girl.

  14. I never realised they were so easy to make - well it sounds simple anyway. I've printed it out - thanks Loloa


  15. The breadsticks look great, but especially so when wrapped in the prosciutto (if it IS prosciutto; perhaps capicolla?)

    In any case, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  16. Oh, Lola,

    I should NEVER come here before a meal...This blog is dangerous ;-) Those look absolutely fab!!!!!! Can't wait to try them!!! Great bit of history, too!!! Makes the recipe all the more fun!! ~Janine XO

  17. These are very different from what some restaurants in the U.S. sell as "breadsticks." I'm fascinated by the barley malt and wonder what that does to the flavor. I guess I'll have to try.

    Everything's better with lard. Didn't someone say that once?

  18. Hey
    absolutely fantastic your recipe
    so good i dedicated a whole blog post to it!
    check it out on

    keep up the good work