These crisp breadsticks make a dramatic centerpiece.
- Yield: Makes 35 to 40
Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 1995
- 1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (about 110 degrees)
- 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon barley malt (available at health food stores)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
In an electric mixer, combine 1/4 cup water, yeast, and barley malt. Let stand until yeast is creamy, about 10 minutes. Add olive oil, flour, salt, shortening, and remaining water; mix on low speed for 1 minute using the paddle. Change to dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until dough is soft but not tacky, 2 minutes. Add rosemary and Parmesan and mix for 1 minute more. Or knead by hand, 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 turns, forming dough into a ball. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
Place a piece of parchment on a clean work surface and brush with olive oil. Transfer dough to the prepared parchment and pat it into a 4-by-22-inch rectangle. Brush surface with olive oil, cover with plastic, and let rise for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment; oil parchment generously. Slice a 1/2-inch-wide piece of dough off the short side of the rectangle. Holding the dough by the ends, stretch it to the length of the baking sheet. While stretching dough, keep the shape as uniform as possible to prevent uneven baking. Form the ends into hooks, loops, S curves, or knots. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat, forming breadsticks with all of the dough and placing them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Let rise in a warm place, uncovered, for lo minutes.
Bake 2 sheets at a time on separate oven shelves, rotating sheets halfway through baking time, until breadsticks are crisp and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks before serving or storing in airtight containers.