Wednesday, October 13, 2010


These funky, crunchy breadsticks are great with dips like hummus, artichoke cheddar, or a spicy marinara.

Make this dough early in the day, in order to serve breadsticks as a dinner appetizer.  Or make the dough a day ahead, and refrigerate it until ready to use.  It will keep in the fridge for up to four days,  which means you can bake off a bit at a time, for many days of fresh, hot breadsticks with dip!  It can also be frozen for later use.  Simply thaw to room temperature before proceeding to roll and shape. 


1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. warm water (85°F)
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil; more for the finished breadsticks
Seasonings (fresh chopped herbs, grated parmesan, whatever you like)
Kosher salt for the finished breadsticks

First, make a sponge: In a medium bowl, mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar until dissolved. Whisk in 6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) of the flour until the mixture is uniform and free of lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place until bubbly and light and almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Now, make the dough: Whisk the olive oil and the seasoning mixture of your choice into the sponge until well blended. Keep mixing, and gradually add 9 oz. (2 cups) of the flour. Continue to add flour until the dough is only slightly sticky, but no longer wet. When the dough begins to cling to the spoon (or your hands) and pull away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, 1 to 2 min.

 Shape the dough into a ball and let it rise in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until about doubled in bulk, about 3 hours. Once risen, punch down the dough and get ready to roll (or refrigerate it overnight or for up to four days).

To shape and bake the breadsticks:  
(Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before shaping it, if you are using it after refrigeration.) Heat the oven to 375°F and line several baking sheets with parchment. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 12x20-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter (or a long, sharp knife), cut the rectangle lengthwise into two sections (each about 6 inches wide). Then cut each section into narrow strips about 1/2 inch wide.
 Stretch and twist each strip to almost twice its original length and arrange the strips, 1/4 inch apart, on the baking sheets.

Bake the sticks until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 min. Check them periodically as they bake, as some sticks inevitably end up thinner than others and will bake faster. They’re done if they feel firm when pinched.

Sprinkle the sticks with olive oil and kosher salt as soon as they come out of the oven. Let them cool completely before serving. They will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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