Celebrations this year will not quite be the same, with social distancing in place and numerous restrictions, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be any less special. Many of you will be celebrating at home, responsibly, with your family and a few close friends, perhaps. And I think home cooked food would be the ideal way to make the guests feel extra special and if you are looking for a great recipe to grace the occasion, then look no further! These sourdough olive breadsticks are flavorful, easy to make and a definite crowd pleaser!!
Surely, when it comes to party food, we often think of bread. Be it the New Year parties or the big game, everyone loves some crusty carbs to nibble on while catching up with friends and family. But as a host it is not always easy to decide which recipe to choose or what to pair it with. Well, let me get one thing sorted out for you. Enter olive grissini!
These flavorful and rustic grissini or breadsticks studded with creamy [sponsored]Mezzetta Castelvetrano Olives are the perfect party snack. Paired with a zingy, spicy, herbaceous Mezzetta Capers, olive oil and garlic dip, these will definitely steal the show. And also you can easily carry these sticks around in your hand as you mingle with others, while socially distancing yourself of course!! How good does that sound!!!
Personally I think it is always a good idea to have a few jars of your favorite delicatessen in the pantry because you never know when you are going to need them. And what if the Deli runs out of your favorites, specially during the holidays and the game season. For this reason I have partnered with Mezzetta to show you how their jarred Castelvetrano Olives and Capers could help you take your entertaining game to the next level, hassle free. Not only can you pre stock these in your pantry ahead of time but “Mezzetta Makes it Betta!”. Let me show you how.
The fruity, buttery and carefully hand picked Mezzetta Castelvetrano olives and the rustic, crusty sourdough bread is like a match made in heaven. It’s full of flavor and texture and keeps you wanting for more!
This recipe uses a sourdough starter which will add more flavor to the already delicious grissini. Sourdough is the new hype and this will surely impress your guests.
Not into sourdough?
Worry not. This recipe can be easily adopted to use instant(commercial) yeast. All you have to do is, use instant yeast instead of the starter/levain and cut down the bulk time. I will attach a separate recipe towards at end of this post. The rest of the process is very similar.
Pitting the Olives
It is no secret that whole olives are preferred by many over pitted olives. But pitting olives is not easy, especially the meaty ones like Castelvetrano. Luckily for us Mezzetta has the Castelvetrano style pitted olives, so you can avoid the hassle of pitting olives altogether and jump straight to the recipe. YAY!!!
However, if you decided to use the whole olives, fear not! I have got you covered. Here are two options that you can pick from depending on the size of the olive.
Using a cherry pitter
Most cherry pitters are not sturdy enough to handle an olive. But some are, like the one in the image. And if your olive is smaller, you can try to use the cherry pitter. This might leave some flesh attached to the pit though and would often makes a mess.
Simple whack with a knife
This is the method used by many chefs and my go to method. This may not give you the perfect whole olive, but does a very good job at getting the pit out in the shortest possible time and with minimal mess. It is easy, just follow the following three steps.
Place the olive on a clean, absorbent tea towel. And simply fold the tea towel over the olive. Tea towel will stop juices from splashing.
You can do this directly on the chopping board without a tea towel but the surface may get slippery after a while
Get a knife and place the flat side on the olive. Give a good whack. Be gentle enough to not squash the olive completely yet firm enough to split open the olive.
Gently remove the pit and save the olive.
That’s it! So we got that sorted out and lets move on to making the grissini then.
To make the grissini
These are the simple ingredients you need to make the dough for the grissini. Use a mild olive oil to really let the olives shine
Dissolve the sourdough starter in water and add the olive oil
Add the above mixture to the flour
Mix using a spoon or spatula to hydrate the flour. Cover and leave to rest for about 1 hour.
After the one hour mark, add the salt and using wet hands mix the dough. Feel free to use a mixer if you like.
Then use slap and fold to knead the dough until fairly smooth. This may take about 2-3 minutes
Start of the bulk
Once the dough is smooth like this, place that in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to rest for 45 minutes
After 45 minutes, the dough will look like this. Give a coil fold to this dough to strengthen it.
After the coil fold, the dough looks smooth and bouncy again. Now cover this and leave for another 45 minutes.
This is the dough after the second 45 minutes rest. Perform a coil fold gain.
This is the dough after the second coil fold. It is much stronger and elastic now. And notice the air bubbles due to fermentation (yeast activity)
Cover and leave for the final 45 minutes
After the final rest, Bring the dough on to a table.
Using wet hands, stretch the dough and spread it as wide as you can. The thinner and wider the better.
Scatter the pitted olives all across the stretched dough.
Dust with some flour to stop olives from slipping. Starting from one end, roll the dough incorporating olives as you go. (just like you would roll a cinnamon roll dough)
This is the completely rolled dough. This process doesn’t have to be exact or perfect, just make sure you incorporated the olives in the dough
Gather the dough and form a ball
Place in a well greased bowl(container), loosely cover and leave in a warm place to finish off bulk.
The dough should double in size. This may take about 4-5 hours depending on the room temperature
At this stage you can cover & refrigerate the dough and continue on the next day if you wanted to
This is the bulked dough. Flour your bench generously with flour or flour and semolina mix
Tip the dough onto the floured surface, flour the dough and gently spread the dough to a rectangle shape. Be careful not to deflate too much. We need most of the air trapped inside the dough to remain intact.
8″ by 18-20″ roughly
Dust with more flour
Using a sharp knife or a bench scrapper, cut about 1.5 cm wide stripes from the dough
You will get about 18-20 stripes. If the dough is sticky use flour/semolina. Flour you hands before lifting these off
Gently lift the stripes and place on baking tray. Stretch each stripe to about 10-12 inches (or to fit the width of the tray)
Leave these to relax and proof further while you preheat the oven ( for about 45 minutes)
Preheat the oven to 425°F
These will fit into half sheet pans
Bake in the preheated oven, one tray at a time for about 25 minutes or until they turn light golden brown.
Leave the tray on a wire rack to cool
When they are cool enough to handle, transfer onto a wire rack to cool further
Serve with the cappers and olive oil dip. See below for the step by step process.
To make the dip
Thai chilis are optional. Hold back on salt and pepper and later add to taste. Often cappers add enough salt!
Chop the parsley and set aside
Crush the garlic, chili, pepper, coriander using a mortar and pestle
Add the drained Mezzetta capers and pond to break the berries
Place the mixture in a bowl and add the chopped parsley and a squeese of lemon juice
Add the olive oil and mix well. Add more salt or pepper if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
This is a great dip for pretty much anything
Instant(Commercial) yeast version
Use 14 g (two sachets) of instant dry yeast instead of the starter
- Mix flour, yeast and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook (or use a bread mixing machine)
- Mix on low speed adding water gradually until everything comes together (all the flour is hydrated)
- Cover the mixing bowl and leave 15 minutes
- Then mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes until a sticky, stretchy dough is developed
- Add the olive oil and mix for 2 minutes
- Then add the pitted olives and mix on low speed just to distribute the olives evenly
- Place this dough in a well greased bowl, cover and leave to bulk for 1 hour (dough will be double or even bigger)
- Have two 1/2 sheet trays ready lined with parchment or silicon mats
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°
- When the dough has doubled in size, flour your bench. Use flour and semolina/semolina flour if you have got them
- The dough is sticky so you need a lot of flour to stop it from sticking. Have extra flour ready at hand and flour your hands well before and while handling the dough
- Tip the dough on to the floured bench, dust the dough generously with flour
- Gently press the dough and spread it out, without knocking out too much air
- Get it to roughly a rectangle about 8′ by 16′ roughly
- Dust the top with more flour (flour/semolina mix) and using a sharp knife or a metal bench scraper, cut the dough in to 1-1.5 cm wide stripes. It is okay to cut through olives and have exposed olives
- You will get about 18-20 stripes
- Once done, dust again with flour. Lift off the stripes gently but swiftly and place on the prepared baking tray. Stretch the stripes to about 10-12 inches
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until grissini are light brown
- Once baked leave the trays on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes
- Then remove the grissini and place them directly on a wire rack to cool
- Serve warm with a dip
- You can reheat these by placing in a moderate oven for 5-10 minutes