Italian Breadsticks

I am serving these delightful breadsticks at the start of the “Sicilian Night Supper Club“, together with a Limoncello Cocktail.  They are very easy to make and extremely tasty!  The recipes uses my Basic Bread recipe, omitting the sugar.

Ingredients

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Part baked breadsticks

1 Batch Basic Bread Dough

100g Black Olives, stoned and chopped

80g Grated Parmesan

1-2 teasp Oregano

Semolina and extra flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 220 deg C

– Follow the recipe for the Basic Bread dough (to stage 6).

– Once the dough has risen to twice it’s size, remove from the bowl and place on to a surface that has been dusted with flour and semolina.  Shape the dough into a rough, flat rectangle, using your fingertips to flatten and spread out the dough.

– Sprinkle on the olives, Parmesan and oregano.  Then fold one third of the dough to the centre and press down with your fingertips, then fold the opposite side over the top (as if you were folding an A4 letter into an envelope).  Press down with the palms of your hands to work the mixture into the dough.  Turn the dough around so that the long side is towards you and start to cut approximately 1 cm slices.  For each slice, start to twist and pull to get a length of around 36cm (14 inches) and place each stick on a baking tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper.

– When you have completed all the sticks (makes approximately 16 (I used two trays of 8) place a tea towel over them and leave to prove for another 30 – 40 minutes (depends on the temperature of your kitchen).

– Then place in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

Cook Ahead

If you want to make these ahead – part bake for approximately 10 – 12 minutes until they are just starting to take on a bit of colour then take out of the oven and cool.  Place in a freezer until needed.

TO SERVE: Defrost and place in hot oven for approximately 5 minutes.  Leave to cool before serving.

Bread – The Sad Story

It is a reflection on living standards in much of the Western hemisphere that we should have to go to a speciality store or farmers’ market to buy bread that is honest, well made and unadulterated.Countries with a traditional high regard for their food forbid their flour to be tampered with.  This is certainly true of France and largely why the French enjoy such good breads; there is also a relative absence of large baking combines in France so the independent village baker reigns supreme, and just as well since French bread stales within hours of baking.

Guiness Bread baked by Rita

Elsewhere, the story is rather different.  ‘Scientific’ advances during the last century have changed bread making; notably, in the UK this was due to the development in 1961 of “the Chorleywood Bread Process”.  The chemically assisted, fast-rising, sliced white loaf is widely marketed and stimulates a continuing controversy.  The essential complaint is that the dough for this product is mixed, risen and baked within one hour.  The gradual stretching of gluten and maturing of the dough’s flavour doesn’t happen; the first is achieved by extremely fast, brutal rough beating, the second is forgotten or approximated with additives.  The end product (to the scientist who created it) smells right, slices like a dream, does not crumble when spread with butter and keeps well.  Then there’s the texture ….. so slight, it scrunches to paste with the slightest application of pressure, even when toasted. Living without decent bread is hardly life at all!

Extracted from ‘Bread’ by Andrew Whitely

FURTHER READING: Chorleywood: The Bread that Changed Britain The Shocking Truth About Bread