Grissini (or bread sticks) are so easy to make that’s it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Making grissini is also one of my favourite things to do because it not only saves a lot of money but also saves the plastic packaging in which they are usually sold at supermarkets. And most importantly you can add extra ingredients to make it even healthier so it’s not just made of flour. My daughter, who is an extremely fussy eater, absolutely loves eating laverbread grissini, which is fantastic!
In this recipe I specifically selected ingredients that are both good for you and also for the planet (from Future 50 Food list).
Spelt (Triticum spelta)
What is special about this ancient grain is how it can be grown without the need for fertilisers and pesticides. This is due to its thick outer husks that protect it from pests and diseases. It has more fibre and minerals including magnesium, iron and zinc compared to similar types of wheat.
Baking with grains like spelt instead of wheat not only provides better nutrition and food security, but also helps to make farming systems more reliable and sustainable by reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment especially forests and endangered species (i.e. agrodiversity).
I love using Sharpham Park Organic Spelt Flour as they specialise in spelt products and are always very knowledgeable and helpful with any inquiries. They also take the environment very seriously. A while ago I contacted them asking about the allergy information on their spelt product and this is what they told me:
We intake spelt grain into our mill where we do not handle or process nuts, we do however have nuts on site in the form of muesli’s that are in their retail packaging and cardboard outer cases ready for distribution to retailers. We have completed allergen risk assessments and have an allergen breakage policy & procedure and these systems are independently audited annually as part of our third party quality management accreditation. We have concluded and verified that these nuts do not pose a risk to any other product we produce here (communication taken on December 2019).
Laverbread (Porphyra umbilicalis)
There are many flavoured grissini, but I decided to use laverbread and it really works well. Laverbread is a traditional Welsh delicacy made of laver seaweed and has an EU protected food status meaning no other food producers can use its name. Laverbread is a gelatinous paste made by boiling the seaweed for several hours, then minced or pureed. It is full of vtamin C and iodine (but don’t over eat as iodine in seaweed can have a negative effect on your thyroid function!).
Edible seaweed cultivation is extremely good for the environment because they grow wildly in the water and you can harvest it all year round without the need for pesticides and fertilisers. Furthermore it sequesters CO2 to reduce acidification of sea water that is caused by too much CO2 and the global warming effect of the planet.
Ingredients (Makes about 30 x 35-40cm grissini)
|Ingredients||Brands||Percentage (%)||Weight (g)|
|Organic white spelt flour||Sharpham Park||100||400|
|Extra virgin olive oil||Filippo Berio||12.5||50|
|Laverbread||Parsons Pickles||30||120 (a whole tin)|
Plus some maize grits if you have some. This will not only prevent the dough from sticking but also adds a nice texture to the finished grissini; if you don’t have any then it really doesn’t matter (adding an extra sprinkle of flour to prevent it from sticking would just do fine).
* I have been using this yeast for a while and found it very strong. So it is a little less than what I would use usually (5.5g of dry yeast by Allison’s). But I like the Lallemand brand as it comes in a larger bag and not only lasts longer but also produces less packaging waste.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together.
- Using a dough hook and mixer, mix at low speed for 1 min then medium to high speed for 2 more minutes until the dough is nice and smooth. If the dough looks wet (the dough is still stuck at the bottom of the mixing bowl), add 1tbsp of flour and knead for 30 seconds more. The dough should all come off the side of the bowl but still soft and slightly wet to touch and smooth.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl and cover and rest until the dough nearly doubles (first proofing).
- Preheat the oven to 200C (190C fan / 400F / gas 6). Place a baking parchment on an oven rack (or use any flat baking tray if you have one).
- On a lightly floured surface tip the dough and flatten to degas.
- Cut the dough in half horizontally. This will make it easier to cut the dough into smaller pieces to shape into a grissini shape (you don’t need to cut into half but this will require you to cut the dough really thin which would otherwise be fiddly).
- To make grissini of about 35-40cm length, cut the dough 20g each.
- Using both hands, roll the dough from centre outwards to elongate the dough to 35-30cm length. The thickness should be no more than 1cm otherwise it won’t be crispy.
- Use a sprinkle of maize grits to prevent the uncooked dough from sticking.
- Place the uncooked long grissini onto the baking parchment.
- Repeat shaping the dough by placing the grissini approx 1cm apart so that they won’t stick during baking.
- Bake for 20 min or until the grissini is lightly golden brown. I usually bake 10 min then turn the tray around to cook evenly as my oven is somewhat uneven.
- Place the hot grissini on a cooling rack.
Enjoy crunching the healthy snacks and feel great helping the planet!
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