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These are delicious as a nibble with cocktails before a big holiday dinner. Festive and rustic, these breadsticks are soft and chewy; the garlic olive oil makes the crust especially tasty. We experimented with sprinkling different toppings on the breadsticks after they had been brushed with garlic oil. Some of our favorites are crushed red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt.
2 cups (16 ounces, 1 pint) warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons barley malt extract or powder
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed in 2 table-spoons olive oil until transparent
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 cups (1 pound) white whole wheat flour or King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) extra-virgin olive oil with a garlic clove or two squeezed into it; or garlic oil
Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the sugar and the malt powder. Add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and let this sit for 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to get going.
Stir in the olive oil, salt, rosemary, and onion. Add the rest of the all-purpose flour. Add the whole wheat flour, a cup at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough has formed a smooth and satiny ball. Place the dough in a bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the dough; this will prevent the formation of skin due to air exposure. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough to expel any air bubbles. Divide the dough in half and keep dividing the halves into halves until you have 40 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 12’’ long. Place on a greased cookie sheet; leave a 1’’ space between the breadsticks. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. Brush with garlic olive oil, and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
These can be kept overnight in a plastic bag, and heated up the next day for a few minutes in a 350°F oven until they are refreshed.Yield: 40 breadsticks.
•If you prefer thin, crunchy breadsticks like Italian grissini, place the dough on a well-floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle approximately 1/4” thick, and just wide enough to fit on your baking sheet. You’ll probably have to do this in pieces. Using a rolling pizza wheel, cut the dough into strips approx. 1/4” wide. Transfer strips to baking sheet. Let rise for about 1 hour, then bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes or so, or until they’re golden brown.
•This is a recipe that also lends itself well to rolls. You can form the dough into about 30 golf-ball sized rolls and extend the baking time to 20-25 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving: (1 breadstick when dough is made into 40 breadsticks, 42 g): 115 cal, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 15 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 2 g dietary fiber, 162 mg sodium, 67 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 25 mg calcium, 57 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, November 1992 issue.