Recently I read an interesting story on creation of breadsticks/grissini. They have originated in Torino, Piemonte, a region of northwest Italy. Grissini/breadsticks were invented around the end of the 17th century to cure the health problems of young Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy.
The story goes that the duke had difficulty digesting most foods. Don Baldo di Lanzo, the court doctor, commissioned a baker from Torino, Antonio Brunero, to create something that the young duke could digest. Antonio decided to take a part of the dough use to make ghersa, a typical bread of Torino, and stretch it out into long, thin strips. Once baked, the thin bread sticks were crisp and easy to digest. His creation was a great success and became so popular, it entered the daily life of the Torinesi – and later the whole of Italy. (http://www.claudiosspecialtybreads.com/history.html)
This lovely story inspired me to make some breadsticks infused with rosemary.
I used dough recipe from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rosemary-and-thyme-breadsticks-5204 and bread machine to prepare the dough.
Ingredients for the dough:
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
Once dough was ready, punch it down. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece between palms and work surface into 12-inch-long by 1/2-inch-wide rope. Arrange ropes on 2 heavy large baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
Sprinkle it with herbs and olive oil mix – 1tbsp of rosemary and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
Let rise uncovered in warm draft-free area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes – 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until breadsticks are crisp and pale golden, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Enjoy this simple appetizer!