Saturday, November 22, 2008

Parmesan Grissini

It has been a little while since my last post, and I think these grissini are the perfect way to break the drought. This recipe is from Made in Italy: Food and Stories, the quite lovely book by Giorgio Locatelli. For me, Italian breadsticks are a promise of something more... an introduction to a leisurely meal in the shade on a sunny day, happy days with a cold glass of beer and an idle nibble on a grissini or two or three. It's not really a serious entree, just something to do while you unwind and wait for the real food to come along. 
And just as appealing is the impressive spectacle that these 40cm long, hand made beauties create. Knobbly, twisted golden brown sticks with a rustic untamed appearance that cannot fail to impress. A glass filled with these grissini in the centre of the table is indeed a beautiful sight and for this reason alone it is worth firing up the Thermomix and to start baking.

Parmesan Grissini
75g ungrated parmesan cheese
50g unsalted butter
200g whole milk
1 Packet of dried yeast
375g bakers flour
10g sea salt

Chop the parmesan into walnut sized cubes, place into the Thermomix bowl and grate on speed 10 for 4 seconds
Transfer the grated parmesan into a bowl and set aside
Rinse out the Thermomix bowl and dry

Place the butter in the Thermomix bowl and chop on speed 5 for 2 seconds.
Melt the chopped butter at 90 degrees on speed 1 for 2 minutes
Add 200g of whole milk and your Thermomix bowl temp should be registering 37 degrees
Add your packet of yeast, flour, salt and parmesan. Stir on speed five for 3 seconds
Now knead the mixture on interval setting (the wheat symbol) for 4 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and stretch into an A4 sized rectangle
Work your way over the entire surface of the dough making deep indentations with eight fingers at once.
When the surface of the dough is covered with indentations, fold it in half  turn it ninety degrees, stretch it out to an A4 sized rectangle and repeat the indentation making process again.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Turn on your oven now to 200 degrees.

Repeat the dimpling and folding process and leave to rise in the covered bowl again for another 30 minutes

Cut the dough in half and roll each half out into a large rectangle about 30cm or more on its long side.
Slice this rectangle of dough into 1cm wide strips, 30cm in length.

Now roll the strips one at a time on the work surface with your hands to form long thin sausages
Press down on one end to create a flattened spoon shape.(I don't know why)

Place on a non stick baking tray, big enough to accommodate your rather long breadsticks and rest them for 10 minutes.

Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until golden brown, keep checking them.

The result is truly magnificent, these grissini are totally impressive. Serve a bunch of these standing in a glass and watch them disappear.
Giorgio Locatelli says these breadsticks make great breadcrumbs, but we have never had any left over.