I LOVE breads of all kinds. I could easily make a meal of nothing but bread, and have many times too. Many years ago, when I lived in the San Francisco area, I used to buy a mini baguette everyday while walking from the bus stop to my office and I had it timed just perfectly where I would finish it just as I walked into the building. That was breakfast, and often times lunch for the day too. That was back in the days where EVERY penny was counted and I had to make things stretch as far as I could just to make ends meet. But I digress. Back to breads and back to the present.
I LOVE breads of all kinds. If something is breaded, it is almost always guaranteed that I am going to love it. For whatever reason, I don’t make breadsticks all that often though and I really don’t know why either. They are no more difficult to make than any other kind of bread, and they taste great too. I did, however, make some very tasty breadsticks the other day. I took them “wining” with us when we went to InVINtions. These particular breadsticks are loaded with flavor and have just enough kick to them to wake up your taste buds a bit. I made them with crushed peppercorns, a dash of cayenne pepper and Parmigiano cheese. They paired perfectly with wine, but then just about everything does in my book. 🙂
As with so many of the things I cook, this recipe only requires a few simple, basic ingredients that most of us have on our shelves at all times.
Parmigiano and Peppercorn Breadsticks
2 tsp dry active yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBSP crushed black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBSP olive oil +more for cooking
1 cup grated or shredded Parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup semolina flour
Make your starter first by combining the yeast with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour. Mix them together and let stand for about 30 minutes. You want it to become thick and frothy.
Combine the rest of the regular flour, salt, cayenne pepper, crushed peppercorns, Parmigiano cheese, water and the 2 TBSP of olive oil and mix everything together thoroughly. Then add the starter and incorporate it into the mix.
Once everything is fully combined, on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 15×5 rectangular shape, brush with olive oil, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 1/4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450* F or about 230* C.
On a lightly floured surface, punch the dough down and sprinkle the semolina flour generously on both sides of the dough. Cut the dough into 5 equal portions, and then divide each of those portions into 5 more equal portions and roll into dough balls. You will have 25 dough balls.
Roll each dough ball out into a thin pencil shape, about 8-10 inches long.
Coat your baking sheets in olive oil then roll each dough stick with the olive oil by rolling them on the pan. Spread them out about an inch apart. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they are golden and crispy. The key to good breadsticks is to make them nice and crispy. I kept them in the oven, with the oven off, and let them “cool” on their own in the oven to help crisp them up.
These are very good as is, or served with either pesto or marinara sauce on the side. I made a pesto this time and served them with that. Man cannot live on bread alone; sometimes you need a sauce to go with it. These breadsticks were a big hit with everyone and they all quickly disappeared too.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.