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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sourdough Grissini

Sourdough Grissini
Lately, I've been feeling pretty darn proud of myself for not killing my sourdough starter.  Don't judge, it's far too easy to do.  I've done it a couple of times before.  The jar winds up getting shoved to the back of the fridge.  Soon, it's blocked by other jars, cartons, and containers.  I eventually uncover it several months later when the fridge has gotten so ridiculous that I can stand it no longer.

So, with my latest starter (let's call her Ruby), I've made some conscious adjustments.  Her jar stays on the top shelf, at the front of the fridge - no matter what.  That is first and foremost.   The other, equally important, conscious choice  - use her weekly - no matter what.  She needs to be fed weekly, anyway, and I have the biggest issue with throwing perfectly good, living sourdough away.  It has to be done for a starter to survive, but I hate it.  So, instead of throwing away the portion that I remove each week, I am required to bake something with it.  It could be a loaf of bread, a batch of rolls, some yeasted crackers, or an addictive batch of these long sticks of Grissini (aka crunchy bread sticks)!  These two things are going to keep me accountable.

I'm always on the look-out for other ways and new recipes for sourdough, so if you've got 'em (and you want to share 'em) - hook a sistah up.

Sourdough Grissini
But on to these Grissini.  This recipe makes 48 of these über-crunchy, amusingly long sticks; not a single one remains less than 48 hours later.  The tang from the sourdough, along with any add-ins you deem worthy, lend such beautifully developed layers of flavor to these thin sticks.  I mean really, it doesn't seem right that such skinny little things should be so pronounced.  But I'll take it.  And I'll like it.

Sourdough Grissini
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Sourdough Grissini
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 2.5 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 23-27 minutes
Keywords: bake bread snack flour sourdough starter Italian

Ingredients (48 grissini)
    for the dough:
    • 340 grams all-purpose flour
    • 200 grams lukewarm water
    • 9 grams (1-1/2 teaspoon) salt
    • 23 grams olive oil
    • 228 grams (mature 100%-hydration) sourdough starter (like this one or this one)
    to finish:
    • olive oil
    • coarse salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • mixed seeds, optional
    • finely grated cheese, optional
    Combine all of the dough ingredients in a medium-large mixing bowl, using a dough whisk or a wooden spoon, until they come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding a bit more flour as needed, until dough is no longer super-sticky, but still slightly tacky, ~5 minutes.

    Form dough into a ball, and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 2 hours, lifting and folding dough after 40 minutes and 80 minutes.

    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 even pieces. Cover the ones that you are not working with at the moment with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

    Gently roll and pat the dough out into a 12"x4" rectangle. Brush the dough with some olive oil (roughly 2 teaspoons per rectangle). Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and/or a handful or two of mixed seeds, and/or some finely grated cheese.

    Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a pizza cutter, a sharp dough scraper, or a knife to cut into 16 even-ish strips. Lift each strip of dough up at the ends, gently stretching to the length of a baking sheet. Line them up on a prepared sheet. Each sheet should hold 12-16 strips of dough (that's why I saw to line 3 or 4). Set aside for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, while you preheat the oven to 350° F.
    Sourdough Grissini
    Repeat with remaining portions of dough, allowing the formed grissini lined up on trays to sit at room temperature while the sheet before it bakes (depending on how many you can fit in the oven at a time).

    Slide a tray (or two) into the oven and bake for 23-27 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Remove from oven and slide them onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all of your grissini are baked. Enjoy (but be prepared to keep going back for more - they're super addictive)!

    If using seeds (mixed or single) as the topping, you may consider actually kneading them into the dough, as I find that so many fall off after baking. Same with the finely grated cheese (which also tends to get very dark during baking). If you want different types in one batch, knead these things in after dividing the dough into three pieces. You may need to set them aside, covered, for another half an hour before rolling/patting out if you take this step.
    -slightly adapted from Wild Yeast
    Sourdough Grissini