I was so excited to get a new issue of Food Network Magazine this month! They have the most amazing recipes and photographs of food. True food porn and I am addicted. My favorite part of the magazine may be the Recipe Index. Instead of descriptions of articles with page numbers, they list every piece of food with a thumbnail image and page number. Brilliant. It also has a section called Weeknight Cooking, which details a number of entrees (including a budget-friendly one), sides, salads, tips, and a dessert. Then there is Fun Cooking. For the June/July issue they made a copycat recipe of Olive Garden's breadsticks and let me tell you, it is spot on.
For the dough:
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 T butter, softened
2 T sugar
1 T salt (I used 1 tsp kosher salt)
For the topping:
3 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of dried oregano
Why I used bread flour...I was running low on all-purpose, true, but I always prefer to use bread flour. It is higher in gluten, which gives you more rise and a chewiness that I love in bread. Also, bread flour has a small amount of barley, which helps the yeast retain its gas. (I can hear my kids laughing at that explanation.)
Place 1/4 cup very warm water in the mixer bowl with the yeast and leave it alone for 5 minutes or until it looks like this:
Add the flour, butter, sugar, salt, and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 T warm water and mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, about 5 minutes.
This dough is a beautiful, wonderful thing. I wanted to name it (Pierre?) and keep it as a pet. Perfect texture. (It kind of looks like a Thanksgiving turkey in the picture, though, doesn't it?)
The recipe suggests kneading the dough on a floured surface for about 3 minutes, until it is very soft and smooth. I didn't want to stop kneading.
Ah, Pierre. You are so beautiful...to me.
Roll the dough into a 2-foot-long log. I spread out some wax paper, floured it, and then made small marks to delineate the 2-foot length.
Cut into 16 1 1/2 inch-long pieces. Despite using a measuring tape, I did not have perfectly even pieces. I do not blame Pierre.
Knead each piece into a 7-inch-long breadstick and place them 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. I used two sheets.
Cover with a lightweight dish towel in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. After they have doubled, brush them with 1 1/2 T butter and 1/4 tsp salt. The recipe calls for sprinkling on the salt, but I mixed it with the butter.
Bake for 15 minutes then brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with the salt, garlic powder, and oregano. (Again, I mixed it all together and brushed it on.)