cravings

I have very specific cravings these days,  due I guess to the Vegan until 6pm diet. Almost every Tuesday (at work in the Kitchen) I do a baking project for our daily tea snack. My Tuesday baking projects are special to me because I am provided with some (rare) time to myself; no teaching moments, no explaining things, just time to clear my head. Yesterday I was craving that yeasty, rising dough smell; warm, soft goodness--I wanted bread sticks (not Breadstix). So, I set grabbed Carol Field's The Italian Baker, and set about making Grissini.

Ingredients: (Makes about 20 breadsticks)

3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus additional flour for the bread board
1 tablespoon malted syrup--I used maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Additional olive oil

Here are my bastardized, simplified steps:
1. You can do this part by hand, I did in mixer with bread hook. Mix all ingredients.

2. Pat the kneaded dough out into a rough rectangle, making sure there's a little flour under the dough so it won't stick. Rub a little olive oil on top, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave for an hour-ish.

3. Don't punch down the dough. I used a dough cutter and cut hunks off and then kept slicing thinner and thinner strips until they were the size I wanted. I even twisted some. These looked great. (Field suggests cutting the dough into four rectangles, then cutting each rectangle into five strips, but I simply eyeballed the strips and they came out fine. Gently lift each strip, one at a time, and you'll find it's easy to stretch them out into long, thin sticks.

4. There's no need for further rising, but I let the bread sticks rise for another 15-20 minutes. Recipe calls for baking at 450F for about 20 minutes. My first batch burned, so I cooked my grissini at 400F for 8 mins--however, that is with an industrial oven--BE CAREFUL!

Regret: not wiping the dough with flavored oil and sesame seeds before cooking. I made up for that by making a Parmesan butter, which I heard was good. Also good with ranch or pizza sauce.

I definitely satisfied my craving with these bad boys and am DEFINITELY going to be making again! Sorry, no pictures.  :(

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