Kritsinia (Sesame-Covered Bread Sticks)

Jan 11th, 2011 | By | Category: Appetizer, Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Featured, Flour, Greek, Honey, Lent, Meze, Side, Snacks, Yeast

When in Greece, you will see Kritsinia in many places/spots as you sight-see, travel through the city or to the countryside. Kritsinia are bread sticks that often covered in sesame seeds or with an array of edible seeds. You may find Kritsinia at one of the many farmer’s markets that set up in neighborhoods in the city and in towns. They will also be found at patisseries and bakeries: there’s a bakery on almost every corner in Greece at least one in every village.

Kritsinia will be found sold on the streets by vendors who will also sell Koulouria, the ringed snack that’s also very popular amongst Greeks. The periptera (kiosks) that are found on almost every street corner in Greece sell Kritsinia amongst the other snacks, drinks, candy and anything else one can stuff into a grab bag. Why, you’ll find Kritsinia sold at supermarkets and made by one of Greece’s large biscuit makers.

Bread is an integral part of the Greek diet and I don’t see this changing much in the near future. Kritsinia may be offered as part of a breakfast with some cheeses. Kritsinia are definitely a snack food; pop two or three (or four) in your mouth to hold you over ’til lunch. I’ve seen Kritsinia appear at parties or afternoon coffee (tea) gatherings and even at the beach!

Kritsinia are not expensive and the variety that’s available seem to expand each time I go to Greece. My favourite Kritsinia (Kritsini is the singular form) are generously coated in sesame seeds and flavour-wise, they are definitely savory with some sweet undertones. My take on Kritsinia contains sea salt (ONLY sea salt is used in Greek cooking), honey and some tahini to accentuate the sesame seed theme. To make the Kritsinia more colourful, I’ve added some black sesames seeds into the mix with the more familiar white sesame.

Borrowing from the technique I used to coat my Koulouria last September, I’ve once again diluted some Petimezi with water to be used to coat the Kritsinia and ensure the sesame seeds stick well on them. Petimezi is a grape syrup made from the must of grapes and although there recipes to make your own Petimezi (I’m crazy enough to do it one day), the ready-made stuff in jars is just fine. You will definitely find it in Greece, some Greek grocers/delis will carry it outside of Greece as well. Middle-eastern and Turkish shops will also sell Petimezi. You may have to ask for a grape molasses or syrup but they will also carry it.

This recipe is easy and one you can get the kids to help you with. Make the dough, allow it to double in size and then call the kids in to help roll the dough into pencil shapes then coat them with the sesame seeds. You’ll love the Kritsinia, the kids will love making them (and eating them) and you’ll have a healthy snack on hand around the house. Here’s another reason to cut some of the crap from your weekly shopping list. Here’s to your health….with Kritisina!

Kritsinia (Κριτσίνια)

(makes about 40)

1 tsp. of active dry yeast

2 Tbsp. of honey

3/4 cup of tepid (warm) water

1/4 cup Tahini

3/4 tsp. of fine sea salt

1 3/4 to 2  cups of all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. of Petimezi (grape molasses) diluted in 1/4 cup of water (or just water if you can’t find Petimezi)

1 1/3 cup of sesame seeds

1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Pre-heated 350F oven

  1. In a large bowl, add the honey, tahini, yeast and tepid water and gently mix then allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour and begin kneading with your hands (you may use a food processor). Keep on adding flour while kneading until the dough becomes smooth and no longer tacky (sticky). Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow for the to double in size (60 – 90 minutes).
  2. Place your dough on a lightly floured work surface and simply flatten in with your hands. Cut the dough into 20 pieces and roll each piece into a ball (about the size of a walnut). Using your hands, roll the ball of dough into about 11-12 inches in length and to about the thickness of a pencil. Cut in half (repair the cut ends) and reserve on a tray. Continue to roll-out the remaining balls of dough and form and cut the Krtitsinia.
  3. Prepare your dipping station: one bowl with the white and black sesame seeds mixed and another bowl with the Petimezi and water mixed in. Pre-heat your oven to 350F (middle rack) and place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray.
  4. Dip each Kritsini in the Petimezi mixture and then place in the bowl with sesame seeds then roll in the seeds and place on your parchment-covered baking tray (keeping them as straight as possible). Do not allow more than 15 minutes to pass until they are baked as they will continue to rise ( you want thin breadsticks).
  5. Place in your pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes or until just golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air-tight container. Serve with coffee or tea, as a snack or breakfast and pair with cheese.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

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© 2011, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

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28 Comments to “Kritsinia (Sesame-Covered Bread Sticks)”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kalofagas Greek Food and Moerbie. Moerbie said: Kritsinia (Sesame-Covered Bread Sticks): When in Greece, you will see Kritsinia in many places/spots as you sigh… http://bit.ly/fufYq4 [...]

  2. Rosa says:

    Lovely breadsticks! I love that addition of sesame seeds. They look fabulous.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. bellini says:

    This seesm like it would fit into my healthy snack cateogory for the New Year.

  4. I love all those fourno bread sticks. Yum, thanks for sharing this recipe Peter. I will try it soon, no doubt.

  5. ΕΛΕΝΑ says:

    Ωραία συνταγή Peter, φτιάχνω διάφορα κριτσίνια, αλλά με ταχίνι δεν έχω δοκιμάσει.
    Το μαυροκούκι εκτός που τα κάνει να δείχνουν πολύ όμορφα, έχει και ωραίο άρωμα!

  6. kat says:

    Oh yeah if those were easily available I can see myself eating way too many!

  7. Katie says:

    They look gorgeous! I love all the sesame seeds – and it’s not a huge recipe.
    I really have to go to Greece…. It’s not that far to drive LOL

  8. MaryAthenes says:

    Peter,
    soy stelno tis efhes mou yia to kainouryio etos !
    Polla filia !

  9. Chris says:

    These look delicious. Love the black and white sesame seeds. And Tahini…never used it outside of hummus! Can’t wait to try.

  10. Maria says:

    Love kritsinia … but I’ve got to admit I’ve never bought them in Greece! But I often buy them from one specific Italian bakery in Astoria that is more of a “fourno” than bakery. Even my mother-in-law asks specifically for those when she comes from Greece!

    These sound great … I’ve never tried them with tahini or petimezi so I am curious to see how the flavor is enhanced by these two ingredients.

  11. jasna says:

    Tahini as one of ingredients ?…Must be good.

  12. I gasped when I saw these! I have been wanting )dreaming) of making them for weeks! These breadsticks constitute 80% of my daily diet, actually! I am not waiting one more day, and I will make your recipe! (love the use of tahini too).

  13. These just look like one of those dangerously moreish foods – you have one and then that’s it! Just one more, just one more… Before you know it, you’ve eaten far more than you ever intended. :)

  14. Lisa says:

    Thank you! I have been hunting for a recipe for these for years. I used to eat them at my Aunt’s house, dipped in tea. They were known as ‘paximati’ in our house but we are Cypriot, and us Cyps have odd/different words for things. :) Dolmades being known as koubebkia!

  15. marina@Qcne says:

    They look delicious and easy to do! I will put them on my to-do-list for my blog ;-) I even found the Italian equivalent for Petimezi…

  16. [...] you're not already craving sesame-covered breadsticks, you will be after looking at this post. [...]

  17. Are these anything like those shorter ones you find in stores already made – the ones that are crunchy and hard through and through? Or are these more dough-y inside and crisp only on the outside. Either way, I’d love to try making them.

  18. Joan Nova says:

    Hold me back…I could eat every single one of those beautifully photographed bread sticks.

  19. velva says:

    Oh wow! I have no doubt in my mind that I would love these greek breadsticks. In the morning, afternoon or evening. Love it!

    Velva

  20. Seeing a stack of these at a bakery would definitely draw me in, and I be the home-baked ones warm from the oven are even better. Love the sesame seed coating and am now intrigued by grape molasses.

  21. Ben says:

    That’s a gorgeous bread. You’re becoming quite the baker my friend.

  22. Simone says:

    They look amazing! I love those little black and white sesame seeds over the breadsticks.

  23. Lana says:

    These look amazing! We have something similar in Serbia, but they are baked with a salt paste. the round ones that are sprinkled with sesame seeds are boiled and baked, like bagels.
    My girls would love these, and if they can join me in making them, I would make them every week:)
    Thanks for the inspiration! Sometimes it’s all it takes…

  24. Aren’t these so addictive…especially paired with a few mezedes! I like how you added the darker sesame seeds into the mix!

  25. Renata says:

    Just love it! Gotta try it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. alexia says:

    Τα κριτσίνια είναι η αδυναμία μου! Θα τα φτιάξω σίγουρα! Καληνύχτα από το όμορφο νησί των Φαιάκων! CORFU Greese!!!

  27. Lee says:

    Can these breadsticks be frozen? For how long?
    Thanks so much.

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