Sourdough Bread Sticks

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Its been a gloriously hot and sunny weekend here in London. I was in the mood for bread sticks that you can dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or eat with olives or drink with cool crisp white wine, or all of the above. I found a recipe in ‘How to make bread’ by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. This is a lovely book that makes great bed time reading because the pictures are so beautiful and the recipes always interesting. I have adapted his recipe to make it a bit simpler to follow. I also baked it using my bread stone. I really recommend you treat yourself to one if in any way you feel you are becoming a serious home baker. At some stage soon, I will show you how to make Pizza and a bread stone really makes a big difference. You can buy one on line from http://www.bakerybits.co.uk, if you live in the UK, or you can usually get one in good kitchen shops, or from http://www.breadtopia.com, if you live in the USA. Incidentally looking at these web sites comes with a health warning- once you start looking at them, its going to be hard to stop and before you know it you will be dreaming about making bread and wanting to bake bread when you go camping (like the man on the breadtopia website, and I particularly recommend his camping trip film)

Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, back to making lovely breadsticks that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle with a mild sour taste. You can either bake these on the same day as you mix the dough, or you can put the dough in the fridge and bake when it suits you.

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups of strong white bread flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup white sourdough starter

1/2 cup + dessertspoon of water

1 tablespoon olive oil

semolina for sprinkling

2 baking sheets, lined with baking parchment

1. Refresh you sourdough starter 1 or 2 days before you want to bake. (see my blog on making sourdough bread with your own starter on how to refresh)

2. Mix together the refreshed sourdough starter with the water and olive oil and stir well, so that the starter becomes more evenly distributed in the water

3.Add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon and then by hand so that all the flour is hydrated. This dough is drier than my previous bread recipes

4. Leave for 1/2 hour, covered with cling film or a shower cap

5. Fold the dough by pulling to one side and then folding over and then pulling to the other side and folding over. Then repeat

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6.Cover and leave for 1/2 hour and then repeat the folding as in step 5

7. Cover and leave for 1/2 hour and fold again

8. At this stage you can cover it and put it in the fridge for up to a week and take it out when you want to bake the bread sticks. Remember to let it come to room temperature for at least an hour before you are ready to shape it. Or, if you want to bake it straight away,  leave it to rise at room temperature,  for about an hour and a half.

9. sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and then empty out the dough

10. Spread the dough out with your fingers until you have a rectangle about 5mm thick

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11. Cover with cling film and let it rest for 15 minutes

12. Then use a sharp knife or a bread scraper to cut into roughly 1cm wide strips

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13. sprinkle the work surface to the side of your dough with semolina. stretch each bread stick a little and then roll in the semolina

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14. place on one of the prepared baking sheets lined with baking parchment, and sprinkle a little more semolina onto the baking sheets

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15. cover loosely with clingfilm and let it rise for 1/2 hour

16. Heat the oven with your breadstone in it, to 245 degrees c. If you don’t have a breadstone then you can just put them in the oven on the baking sheet (with the baking parchment underneath)

17. Boil 2 cups of water and put it in the bottom of your oven in a roasting pan

18. After your oven has heated for about 1/2 hour, turn it down to 200 and bake the breadsticks on the bread stone (if you have one) for about 12 minutes until lightly browned

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19. Cool on a wire wrack- but luckily you can eat them pretty much straight away!

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One response to “Sourdough Bread Sticks”

  1. Stephanie says :

    Breadsticks are so moreish … they must be completely irresistible straight out of the oven!

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