Friday, November 4, 2011


Ingredients for the dough
* 1 package active dry yeast
* 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour,plus more for dusting
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon fine salt

Ingredients for the breadstick topping

* 3 tablespoons unsalted melted butter, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
* 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* Pinch of dried oregano


1. To make the dough, place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, approximately 5 minutes.
2. Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on your environment.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the risen breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

I have an open kitchen which is wonderful for cooking and entertaining but not great for yeast breads that need to rise. So, I had my breadsticks rise in the utility room on the dryer, near the furnace and water heater. I had tried these in the past and had not let them rise long enough. This time, I had them rise for 2 hours, and it finally did the trick. When I don't leave them alone for long enough, the breadsticks turned out very dense. This time, when given enough time to properly rise, they were much lighter and delicious. My suggestion to you, especially if you don't work with yeast very often, is to err on the side of more time vs. less. I would rather have big fluffy breadsticks than smaller dense ones, wouldn't you?

One other note: flour your hands as well as your board when you turn the dough out to knead will be glad you did!

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