fennel seeds, rosemary, sage, lavender...
Beautifully long and elegant they can proudly stand at any table on any occasion. And that is what separates them from breadsticks, as I see them: chunky with pieces of cheese, olives, or pancetta sticking out , they speak informality, al fresco dining, barbecue, picnic...
Grissini, are all that, and a bit more, like their creators, the Italians themselves - seemingly nonchalantly dressed for almost every occasion ( just swap the shoes and perfume).
One same basic recipe serves many purposes and can be transformed into many shapes and flavours, although I think that they are at their best when in the original, long and very thin shape which brings the crunchiness out and releases the flavour slowly.
I made 3 batches, using dried sage, lightly toasted fennel seeds and lavender. The recipe that follows makes one batch of 30
10 g dried yeast
pinch of sugar
150 ml warm water
250 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
50 ml olive oil, plus for brushing
1 tbsp dried finely herbs or seeds
Dissolve the yeast with sugar in hand-touch warm water and leave it to stand until becomes foamy. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and knead to get smooth dough. Cover and let it stand in a warm place to get at least double in size, for about 60 to 70 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/356F/gas 5, lightly grease the baking sheet.
Knead the dough gently and divide into about 30 walnut size balls, 13 g to 15 g each. Roll out around 30 cm long ropes, without using any extra flour. Place them onto the prepared oven tray leaving at least 1 cm space between them. Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until golden in colour.
When they are cooled completely, you can store them in a bag, or keep them covered with a clean cloth, they will keep well for few days ( maybe longer, never tried for more then 2 days).
P.S. Go easy when adding herbs and seeds if you don't like strong flavours, especially with lavender. Use just half of the measure and adjust the flavours to your liking next time you make them .