Grissini, or Traditional Italian Bread Sticks, originated in Torino in Piemonte, a region of northwest Italy. Grissini were actually invented around the end of the 17th century to cure the health problems of young Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy.
The duke had difficulty digesting most foods and Don Baldo di Lanzo, the court doctor, commissioned a baker from Torino, Antonio Brunero, to create something that the young duke could digest. Antonio decided to take a part of the dough use to make ghersa, a typical bread of Torino, and stretch it out into long, thin strips. Once baked, the thin bread sticks were crisp and easy to digest. His creation was a great success and became so popular, it entered the daily life of the Torinesi – and later the whole of Italy.
Among the greatest fans of grissini was Napoleon Bonaparte, who at the beginning of the 19th century, founded a stagecoach service between Torino and Paris mostly dedicated to delivering him what he called les petits batons de Turin, “ little sticks of Turin”.
Now that's a rather fancy use for your Motherdough discard!
The typical Italian breadsticks are long, thin and oh so crunchy.
The large amount of discard used in this recipe gives the breadsticks amazing flavour and digestibility.
Blitz the water, oil and motherdough together to form a paste.
Add the flour, malt, baking powder and salt to the paste, bring together and knead to form a smooth elastic dough. Form a ball and wrap in cling-wrap or place in an airtight container.
Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Divide into 4 pieces and pass through a pasta machine several times, on the thickest setting to make sheets. Pass through the tagliatelle or fettuccine cutter to create long ribbons. You can also roll the dough 2mm thick with a rolling pin and cut 4-5mm wide ribbons by hand. Ensure that the ribbons are adequately dusted to prevent them from sticking.
Arrange the ribbons on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gently stretch each ribbon as you position it on the tray. (If desired, you can brush them lightly with milk and sprinkle seeds, parmesan cheese, black pepper or dried herbs on them; or just leave them plain and delicious)
Bake in a preheated oven 180 C fan on for 15-20 minutes until dark golden brown. Switch off the oven and crack the door with a wooden spoon. Leave the grissini in the oven for a further 30 minutes to dry out and cool.
Store in a brown paper bag in an airtight container.