2009 will -supposedly so- be a shitty mean year. Well, that’s the picture the media paints us over and over again anyway. If you ask me, 2009 came lightning fast. Not only didn’t I find time to compile a Best-of-2008-List, but didn’t even manage to grab a new notebook to properly enter the new year. Man, I’m so behind already, 2009 does suck… nah, just kidding ;)
I’m a hopeless optimistic person by heart, so here is the only black outlook I am willing to share: Paint it black – Grissini, my latest baking creation.
My tiny brown notebook dedicated to all things culinary has been fed with some more pages of hard to decipher writing crafted during our NY trip, dishes I simply want to remember, or stunning ideas I want to try in my own kitchen. The very last line reads Grissini – black!!! and dates back to a rainy Thursday, when we discovered them in a small shop in Soho. I immediately regretted not having had this brilliant idea myself and back in Munich I seized the next opportunity to buy some squid ink. I didn’t even have to search for a suitable recipe – I love making Grissini (so fast, so easy, so yummy!) and have shared some favorite recipe variations in my book.
This was my very first kitchen encounter with squid ink, so I wasn’t quite sure about the right dosage and the corresponding Grissinis’ taste, but my concerns proved to be non relevant: it worked like a charm and only a very subtle iodine taste gave away my new ingredient – if you were double blind tasting, of course. They’d make a great combo with, let’s say trout mousse or tuna tartar and their eye catching qualities are more then obvious…
Stir the yeast into 125ml lukewarm water. Mix the flour with the salt in a bowl, add the olive oil, yeast water and the squid ink to it. Knead with the kneading hooks of your Kitchen Aid or hand mixer (kneading by hand might be a less pleasurable experience due to the ink), start on low speed (KA: 1 or 2) for the first minute, then knead on medium level (KA: 4) for at least 4 more minutes until the dough comes together nicely and is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball, cover bowl with a dish towel and let rise for at least 20 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390° Fahrenheit) and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough in the shape of a rectangle until it is about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Cut into small stripes with a pizza cutter or sharp knife – finger-thick for chewy bread sticks or even thinner for crisp Grissini. Use both hands to roll these into evenly ropes (these will rise in the oven, so there is almost no “too thin”). The dough is easily workable, I didn’t use any additional flour for the whole shaping process.
Place the dough ropes on the parchment paper lined trays. Either bake them without any additional spices or brush with water and sprinkle with the condiment of your choice. Bake on medium level for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness and desired crispness (take out one test piece after 10 minutes, if unsure). Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack, then serve with an aperitif or appetizer. If stored in an airtight container, they will stay crisp for a few days.
Paint them black - Grissini
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: ~45 min., baking: 10-15 min.
Ingredients (yields ~20 breadsticks or ~40 Grissini):
10g fresh yeast (or 1 tsp dry yeast)
250g bread flour (e.g. type 550)
heaping 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 little bags of squid ink (one was 3g)
optional topping: nigella seeds, coarse sea salt, sesame seeds, etc.