Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good Bread Series: Breadsticks OR 'Messy' Rolls

Homemade pizza is a great way to stretch your budget, as well as use up small bits of this and that.
     Half a slice of green pepper, or a green onion? A handful of ham and a few mushrooms? Leftover chicken breast, or a pork chop? These are perfect, chopped small and scattered over the pizza.
     (I'm teasing you -- I'll post some terrific pizza recipes in the near future.)

But there are other ways to use that versatile pizza dough, including breadsticks and a trick I just discovered by accident a week ago. 
    Here's the basic recipe.


1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional, but they really add to the taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
few shakes of salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups flour  (either all white, or a fistful of whole wheat flour + white.
                                 Use heaping cupfuls if you're at high altitude)

'Proof' your yeast by mixing everything but the flour, then letting the bowl sit covered in a warm spot for 10-30 min. Mix in the flour, kneading to make a soft dough. Let rise for as little as 30 min., or as long as 8-10 hours. (Punch down, if you're around to do it, every few hours, so it doesn't overflow the bowl. Use a larger bowl, if you're gone for the day.)

Now your dough is ready for:

Garlic Breadsticks

one recipe of pizza dough
1 stick butter
powdered garlic OR garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; melt butter on the baking pan. Roll out the dough, adding flour on the board and your hands as needed, and cut the dough into strips. Roll the strips in the melted butter and sprinkle heavily with garlic; add salt, too. (Or just use garlic salt, to begin with.)
     Bake approx. 10-15 min., until sticks are golden brown. Makes up to 2 dozen breadsticks. Serve warm with pasta, soup, stew or whatever....they're excellent for stretching a meal for company.

(This recipe is good for breadsticks, too...makes a fluffier breadstick, though. I like mine crunchy.)

They're good with pizza, too.

'Messy' Rolls

I bumbled onto this variation by being in a hurry. I made a double batch of pizza dough BUT only added half the flour, stirring it in. Then we had to go somewhere, so I didn't even knead the dough. When we returned, it was rising beautifully.
    This time, instead of adding more flour, I just scooped up serving spoonfuls of dough and plopped them on the greased cookie sheet. They baked about the same time, but made a soft, tender roll that was crunchy outside. Messy-looking, sure...but delicious.

I tried it both ways -- 'iced' with melted butter, then sprinkled with garlic and salt, and just baked plain. It worked either way.

Try it for yourself -- but only use half the flour in the standard dough. Add a little extra flour if the mixture is too liquid, but keep it on the sticky side. Then cover with a towel and put in a warm place. Bake just before the meal.

This works for a 'messy' loaf, too -- just plop the dough, then gently shape it into an oval. Bake, slice and serve.

I think you'll be pleased.

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