Sourdough breadsticks or sourdough grissini are a simple variation on sourdough crackers. They are easy to make and can add texture and fun to your next charcuterie board. Seriously - this is a recipe the whole family will love!
Sourdough bread sticks are great for dipping but are tasty enough to eat alone as a healthy snack. You won't need any specialised equipment to make this sourdough breadstick recipe - it's so easy! You won't even need a rolling pin!
Make them with whole wheat flour or bread flour and top with seeds of your choice. There's so many variations you can make with this recipe - I've added lots of ideas for you further down including adding sesame seeds, poppy seeds, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder or even Italian seasoning.
What are Sourdough Grissini Or Sourdough Breadsticks?
Grissini (translated to bread sticks) originated from Italy. They are basically dipping sticks made from bread dough without any leavening. Long and thin, like a pencil, they're often sprinkled with seeds, herbs or spices.
Crispy, like crackers, they're often eaten before a meal or with a glass of wine or beer.
While you can purchase grissini from supermarkets and gourmet delis, you really can't beat the taste of homemade sourdough grissini.
Traditionally grissini were made without any leavening, which is why they are are crispy and crunchy - rather than soft and pillowy. This recipe for sourdough breadsticks includes some active sourdough starter, which of course is a type of leavening, however we don't give it time to rise too much. This recipe contains no commercial yeast or instant yeast at all.
How To Make Sourdough Bread Sticks (Sourdough Grissini)
Making sourdough grissini could not be easier (they are so much easier than making a traditional sourdough bread recipe)!
In fact, it's a great recipe to get the kids involved in sourdough baking (especially if they love to roll and sprinkle). This is one of my 4 year old's favorite recipes to make! In fact, I went into his Kindergarten class and made these with the whole group. It was so much fun and the kids loved getting involved.
This recipe uses 200g of sourdough starter - you can use sourdough starter discard or you can feed your starter just for the purpose of making sourdough grissini!
Here's how to make Sourdough Bread Sticks:
- Add sourdough discard, flour, olive oil, salt and maple syrup to a mixing bowl and bring the ingredients together so that a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead the dough in the bowl until a smooth dough forms (it is a soft, pliable dough and will be slightly sticky, but still very easy to handle). If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. You can do this step in the bowl of a stand mixer (using a dough hook attachment) or Thermomix if you prefer. It won't take long for the dough to come together so it's certainly possible to do these by hand in a large mixing bowl.
- Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a little bit - like a mini bulk ferment. You don't want it to rise a lot, but you just want the dough to relax.
- Using a scale, divide the dough into equally weighted pieces. 30g makes a lovely bread stick, around 27cm long. I use a bench scraper to divide the dough easily.
- Using a clean work surface, roll each piece of dough into a long, thin stick and then roll each one in seeds of your choice (I've listed sesame seeds but you can use whatever you like - or just keep them plain).
- Place the sourdough breadsticks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with a small gap in between each one.
- Cover the sourdough breadsticks with a damp dish towel (or damp tea towel) and allow them to sit for around an hour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Brush the dough with olive oil (using a pastry brush) and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 350F/180C for around 25 minutes or until grissini are golden brown and cripsy.
- Once baked, leave them in the oven with the door ajar to dry thoroughly.
So simple! Yet oh so good!
Recipe Ingredient Notes
This sourdough breadsticks recipe is very easy to make. It's also easy to make some simple swaps to make it fit your tastes or dietary requirements.
The recipe is dairy free (because it uses olive oil rather than butter). It is also vegan as it uses maple syrup.
- Flour - Use whatever flour you'd like to use. I like to use whole wheat because it gives them a nice color and a rich flavor. You could even add some rye flour.
- Maple Syrup - Swap the maple syrup for honey if you like. I don't think it makes too much difference in flavor. Maple syrup is good if you need them to be vegan. I prefer not to use granulated sugar in this recipe as it is lower in hydration and the sugar can be hard to dissolve.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - you can use melted butter instead of olive oil if you prefer. It doesn't matter whether you sub with unsalted butter or salted.
- Seeds and Flavorings - Add some spices and seeds into the actual dough if you like. Sesame and flax are great for this. You could even add bigger seeds like pumpkin. Spices like fennel, paprika, pepper and garlic work well too.
- Size of the Dough - I find dividing the dough into 30g pieces works best. I roll the grissini out to around 27cm long.
- Flavored Oil - Brushing them with flavored olive oil is lovely too - garlic, sun dried tomato or rosemary work really well.
- Salt - If you want to use these sticks for a dessert or sweet dish, skip sprinkling them with salt before baking.
- Post Bake - Once baked, leave the bread sticks in the oven with the door ajar so that they can completely dry out and crisp up. This will mean they have a longer shelf life too.
This really is a versatile recipe that you can change to suit what you have on hand or what you fancy on the day.
Flavor Variations for Sourdough Grissini
There are lots of ways to add extra flavor to these sourdough breadsticks. We love eating them plain ... but here are a few other ways you can add some unique flavors to your breadsticks:
- Parmesan Breadsticks - add 30g of parmesan to the dough and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese before baking. You could also use cheddar powder if you prefer.
- Garlic Breadsticks - brush with garlic butter before baking - fresh or dried garlic works well.
- Pizza Breadsticks - sprinkle bread dough with Italian herbs before baking and serve with Marinara sauce.
- Seeded Breadsticks - roll the sourdough bread sticks in your favorite seeds before baking. You can use poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds ... anything you like!
How To Store Sourdough Bread Sticks
Grissini will keep really well in a glass jar or tin. Try not to put them in plastic as they will go soft a lot faster.
They look beautiful stored in tall glass jars.
You can make the grissini and then place the rolled, unbaked dough into the fridge for up to 12 hours before baking.
They will last for weeks if stored in an air tight glass jar or tin.
How To Serve Sourdough Grissini (Bread Sticks)
Bread sticks can be lots of fun to eat! Here are some of the ways we eat/serve grissini at home:
- Wrap the grissini with thin slices of pepperoni or salami and dip in cheese dip or marinara sauce.
- The kids love mini grissini with a bowl of peanut butter or nutella to dip them in. This fig cream cheese spread is also a big hit!
- Place a glass jar filled with grissini in the middle of the table to have with a beer or glass of wine.
- Use them to create height or fill in long gaps on a charcuterie platter.
- Drizzle with chocolate and serve with salted caramel sauce and fresh fruit.
Frequently Asked Questions
These sourdough bread sticks are crunchy like a cracker. They are super easy to make and resemble Italian grissini in their texture. They keep for a very long time because they don't have a lot of moisture.
Bread sticks are often served as an appetiser. They can be served plain or salted, wrapped in prociutto or with dips. They are very versatile, require very little preparation and can be stored for a long time, making them perfect for busy restaurants and bars.
Bread sticks, or grissini as they're known in Italian, originated from the Piedmonte region of Italy as far back as 1600. Believe it or not, there is a National Day to celebrate bread sticks - National Breadstick Day! This is celebrated on October 27th in 2023.
Sourdough Bread Sticks [Sourdough Grissini]
- Digital Scales
- Mixing Bowl
- Baking Trays
- 200 g Sourdough Starter (or sourdough discard)
- 115 g Whole Wheat Flour (or All Purpose Flour)
- 5 g Salt
- 25 g Olive Oil
- 25 g Maple Syrup
- 20 g Olive Oil for brushing
- 10 g Sea Salt for sprinkling
- 20 g Sesame Seeds for rolling - totally optional
- Add sourdough discard, flour, olive oil, salt and maple syrup to a mixing bowl and bring the ingredients together to form a shaggy dough.
- Knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a smooth pliable dough (it is a soft dough and will be slightly sticky, but still very easy to handle). If it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Allow the dough to sit for a little bit - like a mini bulk ferment. You don't want it to rise a lot, but you just want the dough to relax.
- Using a scale, divide the dough into equally weighted pieces. 30g makes a lovely bread stick, around 27cm long.
- Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin stick and then roll each one in seeds of your choice (I've listed sesame seeds but you can use whatever you like - or just keep them plain).
- Place the sourdough breadsticks onto a parchment lined baking tray, with a small gap in between each one.
- Cover the sourdough breadsticks with a damp dish towel and allow them to sit for around an hour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 350F/180C for around 25 minutes or until grissini are golden and crisp.
- Once baked, leave them in the oven with the door ajar to dry thoroughly.