Week 50: Sfilati

ITALY: These oven-baked wider-than-grissinis (Italian breadsticks) are inspired by the traditional long and thin Italian sfilatino which is similar to a French baguette. These were so much fun to make; there’s no kneading involved because the dough is so wet. It won’t seem like you can actualy shape the sticks from this wet, airy dough, and lift them onto the baking sheet, but follow along with the video instructions and you’ll see that it does, in fact, work.

This is from The Great British Baking Show Master Class: Season 2, Episode 1, beginning at around 24:21. The ingredients listed below are half of the recipe that’s demonstrated in the video. These don’t really keep well (they lose their crunch pretty much overnight), so it’s best to make as many as you’d consume in a day.

Mix these first, then add the olive oil and olives

  • 250g bread flour
  • 5g salt
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 200ml tepid water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling good glug
  • 250g pitted green olives in brine, drained


  1. Watch the video demonstration all the way through. It’s pretty basic, but it’s good to know ahead of time what comes next.
  2. Water: He measures out 800 ml, so half that would be 400 ml, which is way too much. The written recipe on the BBC site is 400 ml, so half that would be just 200ml. In other words, use 200 ml. Even 250 was too much; I had to start over.
  3. Paul’s “good glug” of olive oil = 1 Tbsp
  4. Add the olives, a few at a time. The video shows them getting all dumped in at once, but mine did not distribute well, so I suggest adding a handful at a time.
  5. You do want to use a rectangular container for the proffing because that’s the shape you want the dough to be for cutting. It’s so wet, you don’t shape/knead it when it’s done proofing, you just cut it in the shape that it lands on the counter.
  6. Their 220 fan is equivalent to 475.
  7. Use a lot of flour to dust, and pay close attention to the video where he shows how to cut the breadsticks, and roll them away.
  8. It seems like they’d be impossible to pick up, but you can. You don’t really need to stretch them, they stretch as you lift them from the counter to the tray.
  9. I didn’t space mine very far apart, but I didn’t want them to touch. So, I had to put 3 on a separate tray.

Don’t you just love Paul & Mary?


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