Yield: Yields about 40 breadsticks.
This sturdy dough lasts for up to four days in the refrigerator, making it a snap to bake up a handful of breadsticks as a last-minute hors d’oeuvre. Amounts of flour are given by weight (oz. or lb.) and by volume (cups); use either measurement.
Spicy Cheese Breadsticks: Reduce the salt to 1-1/2 tsp. and replace the chopped chives, thyme, and rosemary with 1 Tbs. sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne, and 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Moroccan Spice Breadsticks: Replace the chopped chives, thyme, and rosemary with 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds (preferably black), 3/4 tsp. ground turmeric, 1 Tbs. freshly ground cumin seeds, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle the freshly baked breadsticks with more sesame oil instead of olive oil.
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I agree with everything that sittapygmaea wrote -- the flavors are excellent but the dough is tricky to work with and you end up putting raw dough sticks that are basically out of control onto the baking sheets. (That said, the first time I made these I served them with the soup course at a dinner party and their insane finished appearance was quite a hit.) Because I found the flavors to be best (and really terrific) in the sticks that were less crispy and tending to be underdone, I will try the recipe again but next time will make them as sittapygmaea proposed, as round cracker breads.
I'd give this recipe 4.5 stars. The flavor of the two variations i've tried- herb and spicy cheese- is quite amazing. I prefer the herb and my husband the cheese. The dough is easy enough to make but shaping part is a bit of a nuisance, and the uneven thickness makes it impossible to cook until crispy without burning some of the tips or thin parts- a particular problem with the cheese sticks, which really do turn acrid when overcooked. I find the less cooked portions taste a little stale even when fresh-- and these really don't save very well. Still, the recipe is worth fiddling with for the unique and supertasty product, and I've returned to it often over the past 10 years. Lately, I've taken to baking some as round crackerbreads, and might prefer these thinner rounds to the sticks.
I agree with Roz. This is a pretty easy recipe. I made the dough a few days ahead of baking and even baked a couple of days before my event. They were great. The dough is easy to work with and the crunch and flavor are excellent. I used the parm cheese, paprika, and red pepper add-in, and it was great. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so.
I really like this recipe. The ooh and aah effect is well worth the fiddly-ness of cutting and shaping the dough into breadsticks. The sponge and dough come together easily, and the final taste (I used the fresh herb approach) is really good. I didn't brush with olive oil and salt when I took them from the oven, I felt the sticks didn't need it. The sticks went well with champagne, and what's not to like? I'm making these again in a few days for a birthday party.
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