Obelisk Breadsticks 24.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Jun 24, 2009

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.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Peter Pastan, executive chef of Obelisk restaurant.

Tested by Melissa McCart.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.