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Wednesday, 31 October 2007


summary: grissini (breadsticks) made with leftovers from mixing wild yeast starter into pizza dough; Hallowe-en goodies; what has happened to UNICEF boxes?

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

They look like ghoulish fingers…

bread sticks As I mentioned last year, on Hallowe’en night, we like to have dinner prepared before the hordes of candy hungry monsters troop up our steps. It’s usually warm enough (but just) to stand outside on the porch. We chat with the neighbours, admire their pumpkins, and race to get rid of candy first so we will be the first to turn off the lights, blow out the jack-o’lantern and rush inside to hide from any costumed young fiends still roaming the streets, dragging already bulging bags of candy, hoping for even more sweets.

jackolantern in rain ©ejm2006 gif cue sound effects

(Please remember that even though the children no longer carry Unicef boxes, donations are still welcome.)

We often have chili con carne or refried beans casserole for Hallowe’en dinner. But this year, we have decided to have lentil soup, various cheeses and wild bread.

(Remind me to post T’s recipe for lentil soup! I can’t believe it isn’t already on the site!)

When I read about Susan’s (Wild Yeast) grissini, I thought they would be perfect for using up leftovers after building up the starter in preparation for making bread.

And I was right!! I used just half the yeast in our pizza dough recipe and with the leftovers from feeding the starter, there was enough leavening power to make the dough double in exactly the same time that it would have with just yeast.

Making the sticks was dead easy, even though I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around Susan’s instructions:

Fold each strip over on itself (according to Baking Illustrated, this makes it stronger). On an unfloured surface, roll the strip into a long snake. Make it a bit longer than the length of your baking sheet, to allow for spring-back.

For clarification, I took a look in “The Italian Baker” by Carol Field to see if she made grissini. Of course she did!! (There are so many recipes in that wonderful book that I haven’t made!) Field’s instructions for making grissini are a little different:

The baker’s method of shaping breadsticks is ingenious, simple, and quick, for he certainly doesn’t have time to roll out individual grissini. Cut the dough crosswise into 4 equal sections and then cut each section crosswise again into 5 strips, each about the width of a fat finger. The dough is so elastic that you can simply pick up each piece, hold each end with your fingers, and pull and stretch to fit the width (or length) of a baking sheet.

bread sticks But I was already on instruction overload. (Reading this now, I am having no difficulty comprehending it at all…. :lalala:) So I just folded the strips in half to make shorter strips and then twisted them together before placing them well apart on parchment lined cookie trays. I sprayed them with olive oil – we have one of those nifty pump spray bottles – and sprinkled coarse seasalt over top.

(Field suggests sprinkling sesame seeds or poppy seeds as variations. And she has several variations for the dough itself – adding onion, or cheese or sage. I bet that would be good too.)

Grissini are fabulous!! Many thanks, Susan, for posting about them so we would try them too.

I just realized that I should have stuck almond slivers on the ends of each bread stick to make them scary looking! (They do look like fingers, don’t they?)

Once again we will be seeing zero Unicef boxes this year.! We wouldn’t even have been allowed to go out for Hallowe’en if we didn’t have UNICEF boxes strung around our necks!

Over the past several years, UNICEF Canada has […] been listening to the concerns expressed by teachers, schools and the public about the logistical and safety challenges of the traditional door-to-door coin collection.

With the help of thoughtful teachers and educators across Canada, we redesigned the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2006 to provide more meaningful, flexible and fun ways for schools and kids across Canada to support their peers abroad. Instead of students collecting change in the UNICEF box on Halloween night, schools and participating children undertook fundraising activities throughout the month of October and fundraised at home through family and friends in support of the Schools for Africa programme.

Read about how to donate to UNICEF:


This post is partially mirrored on
The Fresh Loaf – grissini (bread sticks)


edit: other Hallowe’en Treats:

EoMEoTE#12 – The Hallowe’en Edition
Frankenstein’s Refried Beans
Want to see something really scary?


  • Susan

    These came out wonderfully, Elizabeth. I’m sorry my instructions weren’t clear, but the way you did it, spiraling the two halves together, is a very decorative and appealing variation. How much starter did you use in the dough?

  • ejm

    I wish that I had remembered to measure the amount of starter that I used, Susan. It was whatever was leftover from the midday feeding on the buildup day. I’m guessing that it was around a quarter of a cup – gram measurement? you know me. I’m just a little too casual. I’m afraid I have no idea. Next time I make the bread sticks, because there will be several next times, I’ll take measurements.

    I usually use a teaspoon of active dry yeast in pizza dough and this time I used half a teaspoon because of the presence of the bubbling starter. The really nice thing about these half wild yeast bread sticks is that they had a slight sourdough flavour. Nothing really outstanding – just in the background.

    (I confess that we had wild bread from the freezer last night with our soup – not the breadsticks. I made them both last week.)

  • Paz

    breadsticks do look link fingers! Perfect for Halloween. ;-)

    I’m looking forward to T’s lentil recipe.


  • ejm

    Susan, I have just weighed the “discard” from building up starter in preparation for making bread tomorrow. It is about 50gms. I’m guessing it’s usually that amount.

    We used the extra to make waffle batter for tomorrow morning…


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