Semolina and Sesame Grissini (Breadsticks)

Total Time
3hrs 20mins
Prep 3 hrs
Cook 20 mins

Grissini are thin, crispy Italian breadsticks, "like an extra serving of the best part of bread; the brown, crunchy, sesame-coated crust in concentrated form." This recipe is from Gina DePalma, the pastry chef at Mario Batali's _Babbo_ in NYC.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl with the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve and let stand to proof, 5-7 minutes. If it is not foamy by then, the yeast is dead; get new yeast and start again.
  2. Place semolina and all-purpose flours in work bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the salt, and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds. Mix briefly to combine.
  3. Make a well in the pile of flour and add the proofed yeast, the remaining water, and the olive oil. Start the mixer on low speed until everything comes together and starts to get smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase to medium and knead another 2-3 minutes, until it begins to look velvety and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand until smooth and elastic (about 30 turns, about 1 minute). Grease a clean mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into it, turning the dough over to coat both sides.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, dark spot until it triples in volume, about 2 1/2 hours. (Alternatively, place dough in an oiled, airtight plastic container at least twice the size of the dough mass and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding).
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F Coat 2 baking sheets each with 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp olive oil.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Cut dough in 6 equal pieces. Cover the unused pieces with a damp kitchen towel.
  8. Cut each piece into 4 or 5 equal pieces, each about the size of a medium walnut (3/4 to 1 ounce each). Using both hands, roll each piece against the board until it forms a 12 to 14 inch rope. Do not flour the board; the stickiness helps the dough stretch out.
  9. Place the rope on the baking sheet, rolling it to coat with oil. Spaced 1/2 inch apart, each sheet should hold 10 to 12 breadsticks.
  10. When all the breadsticks are made, coat with sesame seeds: pour the seeds into a long narrow pile, as long as the bread sticks and twice as wide. Starting with the first breadstick (which will be most relaxed and easiest to work with), roll each breadstick in the sesame seeds, coating well, then return it to the sheet pan. Sprinkle each with a bit of kosher salt and let rest 10 minutes.
  11. Bake 14-20 minutes. Halfway through, turn each sheet pan 180° in the oven, and swap racks, to ensure even browning. They are done when they are an even light golden brown (the ends may be a little darker). Cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Most Helpful

5 5

Finally I can make a good breadstick. Loved how easy the dough was to work with and they came out wonderfully. Loved the sesame seeds. I baked the first sheet for 15 min., the next two for 18 and that was a little too much as the ends were very brown. Took them to Bunko and they were devoured. Served with salami and marinara for dipping if they wanted.