We made minestrone soup for dinner last week. To go with it, I made some breadsticks. I used the recipe I normally use for a soft white sandwich bread, but increased it by 1/3, and used a third of it for the breadsticks, and baked the rest in a bread pan to make a loaf of bread. You could make more breadsticks, and freeze some. I sliced the loaf and froze the slices for toast and sandwiches.
I made my breadsticks fancy. After the dough went through its ferment, I divided off a third of the weight and put the rest into a bowl to proof for the loaf. I divided the smaller portion into six equal pieces. I took each piece, divided it into three, and rolled each of those into long, thin ropes. Then, I braided three of the ropes into one breadstick. I laid each braid onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and let them proof along with the loaf. They puffed up to almost double their size. You could also divide the dough into more pieces, maybe eight or ten, and roll each one to a cigar shape for simpler breadsticks. Or, if you like really thin, cracker crisp sticks, don’t braid the thin ropes and bake those.
After they proofed, I brushed the tops with an egg wash (one egg beaten with a couple tablespoons of water), and sprinkled them with sesame seeds. You could use poppy seeds, herbs, toasted grains, or whatever you want, or leave them plain. Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt and bake.
I baked mine for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Looking back, I should have let them go a bit longer. They were just barely browned on top and were really soft and chewy. They were good, but I think I would have liked the crust a little crisper and crustier. If you make the really thin ones, you want to leave them in the oven until they are nicely browned and cracker crisp. Cool on a wire rack, and serve with soup, or pasta, or a salad.
Here’s the recipe I used. Again, I divided this so that I used one third for the breadsticks, and the rest for a loaf of bread.
A few notes:
I always add both vital wheat gluten and diastatic malt powder to my yeast breads. The vital wheat gluten adds a bit more gluten to the mix and helps the bread’s structure. The malt powder just adds a bit more food for the yeast so that the dough proofs well. Vital wheat gluten is available at many grocery stores in the baking aisle, and both it and the malt powder can be ordered online.
Soft White Bread
473 grams flour
12 grams salt
14 grams yeast
24 grams vital wheat gluten (optional)
14 grams diastatic malt powder (optional)
1 T. olive oil
312 grams warm water
Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and vital wheat gluten and malt powder if using in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir well to combine. Add the olive oil and water. Mix on low speed until no dry flour remains. Cover the mixer with a clean towel and let rest for ten minutes to begin hydrating the flour. Uncover the mixer and knead on medium speed (3-4 on a Kitchen Aid) for 8 minutes or until the dough becomes soft and gathers in a nice ball. It will be soft, but not sticky or overly moist. Gather the dough on a board and knead by hand about 8 or 10 times. Gather it into a smooth ball, and put in a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment in a warm place until doubled in size.
When doubled, split off a third of the dough for the breadsticks. Put the rest into the bowl, cover, and proof for about a hour. Split the smaller portion of dough for the breadsticks and form them. Place the breadsticks on a parchment lined baking sheet and let proof until almost double in size. Bake both the loaf and the breadsticks in a 425 degree F oven until done. Cool on wire racks. Cover the loaf with damp paper towels to keep the crust soft and pliable, if you want.
On presale now and coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition.
Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.
Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died. With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, it’s up to Deuce to figure out what’s going on, and how all the pieces fit the puzzle. Along the way, she reconnects with an old friend and discovers someone is stalking her. Deuce will need to connect all the dots fast, because more lives are at stake than anyone suspects.
Learn more here, where you will find links to the presale.
Two’s Company is listed on Goodreads. If you like what you see above, I’d appreciate you adding it to your Want To Read list. Thanks!
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