Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Parmesan' and Cracked Pepper Grissini

Grissini are the long thin breadsticks you often see in Italian restaurants - this recipe is a fairly simple yeast-bread recipe to try at home.

Dissolve one packet of yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) into 1 cup warm water (check with a thermometer that the temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees). Let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon 2 and 3/4 cups bread flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife. Add to the yeast mixture, along with 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, and stir until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 8 minutes - you can add up to 1/4 cup more bread flour, as needed, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands (I only used about another tablespoon). To knead: punch the dough away from you with the flat of your palm, fold in half, turn a quarter-turn on the work surface, and repeat!

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well; cover and let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size - ideal rising conditions are a location about 85 degrees and free from drafts.

Punch the dough down and let it rest 5 minutes, then roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12x8-inch rectangle, using a rolling pin.

Combine 1 teaspoon water with the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G). Brush over the dough (you won't use all the mixture, so simply discard any extra). Sprinkle the dough evenly with 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods), and 1 tablespoon black pepper - it will look like a lot of black pepper now, but once the breadsticks are separated and rolled out, you'll realize it's only 1/8 tsp. pepper per grissini!). Lightly coat the dough with cooking spray, and cover with plastic wrap. Through the plastic wrap, gently press the toppings into the dough, then discard the plastic wrap.

Prepare two baking sheets by sprinkling each with 1 teaspoon cornmeal.

Divide your rectangle of dough in half lengthwise, so you have 2, 12x4-inch rectangles. Divide each of those crosswise into 12 (1-inch) strips - so you now have 24 strips.

Working with one strip at a time, roll the strip into a log, then stretch into a 14-inch rope, either by gently shaking/pulling it in the air, or rolling it on a lightly floured surface. I found this dough a snap to work with, and the best method to be rolling the rope almost to full length, then stretching it in the air the final inch or two. Place the strip on one of the baking sheets, curving it at various intervals so that they will all fit on the pan.

Repeat with the remaining strips of dough, so you wind up with 12 breadsticks per pan. Lightly coat the breadsticks with cooking spray, then cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Uncover the dough and bake at 450 degrees for 6 minutes, with 1 pan on the bottom rack and 1 pan on the top. Rotate the pans, then bake an additional 6 minutes.

Remove the breadsticks from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 2 breadsticks are a yummy nosh of 150 calories.

bread flour $8.69
vegan cheese $3.39

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance