- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking sheet
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
- Lightly butter a baking sheet, and line with parchment. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add milk in a slow, steady stream, and process just until dough forms.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and cover with a kitchen towel. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll a dough ball into a rope, 28 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Repeat 3 times. Place the 4 ropes side by side on a baking sheet, and pinch 1 set of ends together. Braid ropes (pictured, below). Shape braid into a 4 1/2-inch ring, overlapping ends. Tuck ends underneath. Repeat with remaining dough, rolling 4 at a time. Cover breadsticks, and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine yolk and cream in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush yolk mixture onto breadsticks, coating completely. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. (If breadsticks do not brown, increase temperature to 375, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.) Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack. Garnish each wreath with a thyme sprig before serving. Serve breadsticks within 12 hours of baking.
For an even more festive decoration, sprinkle the top of each breadstick wreath with either poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coarse salt -- or any combination of the three -- just before baking.