These make a savory, crisp snack. Don't be discouraged if they're not perfect the first time; you'll want to make them again and again. Like bread, they're a challenge but not impossible to make in a home kitchen. Humidity, technique and how much the dough is worked all can affect texture and flavor.
The dough is much easier to do in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and easier to cut using a dough or bench scraper. A convection oven makes for crisper breadsticks; shorten the baking time as needed.
Make Ahead: The dough needs 30 minutes' resting time.
Servings: 24 breadsticks
- 1 cup warm water (90 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the dough
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- Semolina, for forming the breadsticks
Combine the water, yeast, oil, honey and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment); beat at medium-low speed to incorporate. Add the flour a handful at a time until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 or 6 minutes, until a smooth and supple dough is formed.
Liberally flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the surface; pat and fold it over on itself to shape and form a neat rectangle measuring 2 inches deep by 16 inches wide. Transfer the dough to a large baking sheet and coat the dough with oil (to keep a crust from forming). Place in a warm spot free of drafts; let it rest for about 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size and is puffy. Sprinkle lightly all over with semolina, then gather enough semolina to form a small mound at one of the short ends of the dough.
Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Have ready 2 large baking sheets lined with silicone liners.
Starting at the end of the dough next to the mound of semolina, use a 6-inch dough scraper to cut 1/2-inch-thick strips of dough, pushing them through the semolina to coat well. Gently transfer the strips to the baking sheets, stretching the dough into 16-inch strips. Repeat to use all the dough.
Bake immediately for 12 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp; rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
Transfer the breadsticks to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from Peter Pastan, executive chef of Obelisk restaurant.
Tested by Melissa McCart.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.