Grissini Revisited

As far as I’m concerned, there is no more perfect party food than grissini. A bouquet of these thin bread sticks looks beautiful and never fails to draw a crowd. They’re crunchy and savory and can be picked up and eaten with one hand.

But let’s face it, if you have to roll several dozen of these things individually you may be arriving a little late to your own party. It’s not that I don’t love hands-on time with my dough, but sometimes just a little more efficiency is in order.

In her book The Italian Baker, Carol Field describes how Italian bakers do it, by simply stretching the elastic dough with the hands. For me, this was not only faster but produced wonderfully rustic, knobby-ended grissini. (Do you know me? I am nothing if not a fan of rusticity!)

I love my grissini thin thin thin. If you prefer something a little plumper, roll the dough into a 6 x 4-inch (rather than 12 x 4) rectangle, and cut it into only 8 pieces rather than 16.

This sourdough recipe is very flavorful (and makes nice pizza as well), but yeasted grissini are great too!

Sourdough Grissini

Yield: 24 – 48 grissini


  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation : 2 hours with a fold at 40 and 80 minutes
  • Shape: less than 5 minutes per batch of 16
  • Proof: 20 – 30 minutes
  • Bake: 30 minutes per batch

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 340 g flour
  • 200 g water
  • 9 g (1.5 t.) salt
  • 23 g olive oil
  • 228 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

Topping Suggestions:

  • equal parts coarsely chopped fennel, coarsely ground pepper, and coarse salt
  • coarse semolina
  • sesame seeds


  1. Combine all of the final dough ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with your hands to roughly combine the ingredients.
  2. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter. Adjust the water to produce a medium-soft dough. Continue mixing by hand until the gluten reaches a low level of development. This might take about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 2 hours, with folds after 40 and 80 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. While working with one piece, keep the others covered so they don’t dry out.
  5. On a well-floured counter, pat the dough into a rectangle of roughly 12 x 4 (or 6 x 4) inches.
  6. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of topping.
  7. With a pizza cutter or chef’s knife, cut the dough into 16 (or 8) strips.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Pick up each strip of dough at the ends and gently stretch it to the length of the baking sheet. All 16 grissini should just fit on a 14-inch wide baking sheet.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  11. After shaping, let the grissini rest while the oven is heating or while the prior batch is baking.
  12. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes (a little longer for fatter grissini), until well brown and very crisp.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    You know, I never knew these bread sticks were called Grissini. I feel totally enlightened–and hungry. I need to make these ASAP. They’re some of my favorite snacks :)

  2. says

    When I was in Barolo, Italy (tough life, I know), I wandered past a bakery making grissini. Before I knew it, I’d been pulled in by the bakers and was pressed into service on the line. I some pictures of it on my flickr pages – link at the end of the comment.

    Love grissini – I use the stretch method too – very easy and results in super-thin grissini.

  3. Linda says

    well I always thought that the yeasted grissini you published were the cat’s meow. but sourdough… I will have to try these out. and happy to see a quicker prep than the rolling, though some days a little mindless dough rolling is just what I need!

  4. says

    I make these out of pizza dough from work, and like to run it through the fettuccine cutter on my pasta machine cause you’re right, it takes a lot of time to do them each by hand…

  5. says

    When I worked for an executive club, we used to make a recipe I found in a book for bread sticks, daily! We weren’t fancy either, we rolled them through a fettucine cutter on our pasta machine, miraculously it worked!

    Yours look much better ; )

  6. says

    The grissini are mouthwatering. I will wake up my sourdough (at the moment it is sleeping in fridge) and give the recipe a try. I like the rustic look of the grissini, too.

  7. says

    There, that does it! I’m finally going to make a batch of these- been putting it off for months. Thanks for the motivation, Susan.

    Beautiful photos, as always…

  8. Bogdan says

    Hi , I have a qestion.
    Olive oil is ingredient for the dought or only for brush before seeds?
    Thank you.

  9. says

    Bogdan, the 23 grams of olive oil is mixed into the dough. More olive oil is used to brush the dough before sprinkling the seeds.

  10. Simone says

    i just made these last night, for a barbeque over the weekend – now all I have to do is NOT EAT THEM straight away, they are delicious!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will definitely make these again.

  11. Oz says

    Hi, I’ve got a question, too. How should we keep these? Would a simple plastic bag work, or would a brown bag sort of thing work better?

    Thanks for the recipe, it all looks delish!

  12. says

    Thanks for the recipe. I made these for a ladies night, last night, and they were yummy!!! 2 things… please describe medium soft dough and the dough was very wet/slack for me. You said put on unfloured counter… which i did and it was very hard to knead… could you please explain your techniuque

    liz Tree

  13. sarah says

    “Thanks for the recipe. I made these for a ladies night, last night, and they were yummy!!! 2 things… please describe medium soft dough and the dough was very wet/slack for me. You said put on unfloured counter… which i did and it was very hard to knead… could you please explain your techniuque”

    I had this same issue. I’m fairly sure I’m doing something wrong. It’s slightly stiffer than cake batter.

  14. Helena says

    A great big THANK YOU for this recipe. My son loves grissini and I have tried to make them before, but it was a disaster. This recipe worked like a charm. I made the dough in the morning, put it in the fridge and made the grissini in the afternoon. It was easy quick and they taste great!

  15. says

    Thank you! I had some Trader Joe’s Italian breadsticks and remembered, as a child, going to the bakery and asking if they had any broken breadsticks. They usually found some. I have a culture on the sink now and will see if I can beat Trader Joe’s.

  16. Hemiunu says

    I had to add a lot more AP flour than the recipe called for to get the dough not to stick to the bowl, although I was kneading by hand, so maybe that was a factor. I think I would have used a little more of my wheat flour that I used to make the starter to instead of the AP flour to give it a deeper flavor. But otherwise a great recipe. Thanks!


  1. [...] There are three kinds of breadstick there – sesame seed, poppy seed and salt, pepper, garlic, chili and fennel. Oh yes. Add a bit of humus and you’re golden. You can find the recipe for Sourdough Grissini on YeastSpotting. [...]

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