Thursday, July 13, 2017

Crunchy Olive and Rosemary Grissini

Crunchy Olive and Rosemary Grissini are 100% dunkable treats packed with flavour from fresh rosemary, EVOO and sundried black olives. All this, and they're gluten free to boot!

Crunchy Olive and Rosemary Grissini

I don't often get to flex my specialty-baking muscles these days. A few years ago, it seems like every other thing I baked was gluten free, vegan or some sort of allergy-free. It was my life, and what I was able to spend my days doing. This past year (and the one before it) were spent in a glorious whirlwind of Home Economics recipe making, baking and undertaking - which I loved, and even found sort of awkward since all of a sudden my only full-stop restriction was that I couldn't use pork. Eggs, milk... all of those were fine, and encouraged - meaning I had to re-remember "old school" baking after years of ignoring eggs and milk products.

A few weeks ago, though, my mom came to me looking for help with the menu for a dinner guest who was coming that weekend. One of the guests was gluten and dairy free, and while my mom eats everything, allergy-free cooking (and especially baking) is not her wheelhouse. After I schooled her on the proper deep-cleaning of the kitchen and basic sanitation for allergy prevention (although we never found out if it was a true allergy / intolerance or a simple preference, I wasn't taking chances), I flipped through a few of my tried-and-trues with her. We settled on Orange Crème Cupcakes for dessert - a tried and true favourite of mine, and always a hit at fundraisers - but we needed something to go with appetizers.

Given that my stepfamily is Italian to the max, that means bread. I know home baking without gluten has come miles and miles since Celiac was a public issue, but when you (like my family) have never had to eat that way... well, old habits die hard. Luckily, I had a recipe that I had made once before in my back pocket that was guaranteed not to solidify gluten free baking as the "dry and tasteless torture" Celiacs have to suffer, by the sheer fact that when done properly, it should be dry.  Grissini (crunchy, skinny breadsticks) packed with sun dried black olives, rosemary and rich, fruity EVOO were the answer!

Now, making these will not be 100% like making "regular" breadsticks - the dough will be wet and sticky to start with, and the resting time is really more to ensure the thorough hydration of the dough so that it can firm up than anything else, and "kneading" is more of a "shaping" than a "stretch and fold". My mom was helping me with these, and once she realized that you can't really "throw around" the dough like normal, it's fairly simple to roll these into their final shape. A convection oven enhances the crispness of the sticks in a shorter time, but it's definitely not necessary - if they're not as dry as you like, bake them longer! Within a day or so, they will lose their crispness, but about 10-15 minutes in a 325F oven will bring them right back to "dipper" status.

Crunchy Olive and Rosemary Grissini
Adapted from Gluten Free Girl
Makes ~45
750 g gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used my Artisanal GF Flour)
¼ cup psyllium husks
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
½ tbsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup minced black olives (I used sun-dried ones)
1 ½ tbsp dried rosemary
2 ½ cups warm water
Cabernet Salt (or coarse sea salt) for topping
  1. Combine the flour, psyllium, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
  2. Add the honey, olive oil and egg.
  3. As soon as the egg disappears into the flour, add the olives and rosemary.
  4. Begin pouring in the warm water. The final batter should be as wet as thick waffle batter. Let the mixer run for 3 to 4 minutes to beat air into the batter.
  5. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it sit in a warm place until risen and “knead-able”.
  6. Divide dough into 50g pieces and gently knead.
  7. Using your hands, roll the dough into a long, thin stick. Smooth out the edges with your fingers to make the bread stick even.
  8. Put the breadsticks onto parchment-paper-covered baking sheets, 10 to a sheet.
  9. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  10. Heat the oven to 450°.
  11. Brush the sticks with water and sprinkle with salt.
  12. Bake 25 minutes, until crisp.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 84.1
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 4.1 mg
Sodium: 8.8 mg
Total Carbs: 16.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
Protein: 1.4 g

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