Make Ahead

Hand-Pulled Breadsticks (Grissini Stirati)

March  5, 2015
2 Ratings
  • Makes about 25 breadsticks
Author Notes

A specialty of Turin, Piedmont, grissini -- crunchy, long breadsticks -- are usually part of an antipasto or appetizer, where they are served with paper-thin slices of prosciutto or other salumi, cheese, olives, and other nibbles. And they're very easy to make at home -- perfect for your next party.

These breadsticks are shaped by pulling rather than rolling, which makes for a wonderfully airy crunch. Once you master the original, why not coat the sticks in poppy seeds, sesame seeds, mixed seeds, or even dried herbs instead of semolina? Or you can leave the semolina out if you prefer smooth, plain grissini.

The recipe and proportions for traditional grissini are pretty standard. You could also use all-purpose flour for this instead of bread flour, but the extra protein content in bread flour adds great elasticity to the breadsticks. That way, when you are shaping (pulling) the dough, you won't risk it breaking. The following recipe is adapted slightly (mostly in the method) from Carol Field's recipe for Grissini Torinesi from The Italian Baker. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (12 grams fresh yeast)
  • 1/2 tablespoon malt syrup or sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) semolina, for dusting and rolling
  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast, malt syrup, and water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and becomes foamy. Stir in the olive oil, then add the flour and combine until it comes together into a dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes if doing this by hand (3 minutes if in a mixer). Add in the salt towards the end.
  2. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 14 inches (35 centimeters) long, then fold into thirds for a width of about 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters). Place, seam down, on a well floured surface. Lightly brush or spray the top with olive oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise (in a warm spot, if possible) until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oven to 450º F (230º C) and lightly oil a baking sheet. To shape the grissini, with a sharp knife, cut the loaf crosswise into pieces that are 3 to 4 inches long and about the width of a finger (a bit more than 1/3 inch or about 1 centimeter wide). Place the semolina on a plate or wide, shallow bowl and roll the dough gently in the semolina to lightly coat. Without disturbing the side of the dough that has just been cut, using your thumbs and forefingers, gently pull the piece of dough from both ends. Stretch to the width or length of your baking sheet. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough.
  4. Bake until the breadsticks are golden, about 11 to 15 minutes, depending on how thick or thin your breadsticks are. Remove from the oven and cool on baking racks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • msmely
  • Jennifer Huang
    Jennifer Huang
  • chris
  • Rikke Hein Truelsen
    Rikke Hein Truelsen
  • Emiko

11 Reviews

msmely April 14, 2019
This recipe works perfectly! If you want to add a small flavor explosion, in step 3, after cutting the grissini, sprinkle and gently press the cut edges with some seeds, crispy salt or herbs, and then give them a gentle twist after pulling.
Jennifer H. July 21, 2015
How crunchy are these? And is there a substitute for semolina?
Emiko July 22, 2015
They are crunchy! If you don't want to use semolina, you could also use polenta (corn meal) for dusting and rolling. It gives even more crunch!
Karin June 1, 2015
what a great recipe. most breadstick recipes are for soft sticks. this is so delicious and exactly what i wanted. thank you!
IzF March 17, 2015
Can I use the knead cycle of my bread machine for this recipe?
Emiko March 17, 2015
I kneaded by hand for this recipe so although I don't have the exact instructions for using bread machines I am sure it's fine - just reduce the kneading time to 3 minutes.
chris March 14, 2015
I just made these with my 4 y/o granddaughter, who thinks the dough feels lovely. Great fun, nice and forgiving, and very delicious. We rolled some in semolina, and some in microplaned Parmesan. I was going to make a dipping sauce, but there weren't any breadsticks left. Doing them again, by request, next time we visit!
Emiko March 15, 2015
Fantastic! A great recipe to do with kids :)
Rikke H. March 11, 2015
Ok, thats one of my "essentials" too!! :o)
Maybe it's because i love Italian cooking? ;o)
Try dipping them into homemade hummus, guac & salsa. I say it's YUMMY!!
Hugs from
Joan B. March 11, 2015
This looks great! In step 2, when you make a rectangle 14 inches long, how wide should it be? And I assume you fold it into thirds lengthwise? Thanks!
Emiko March 15, 2015
It can be whatever width it ends up being, as long as you follow the length. And yes, fold lengthwise. :)