Friday, November 21, 2008

Full of sage and caraway

OK so it should be clear by now that my dad is an impressive baker. Obvious that I aspire to his excellence. Evident that my childhood baking memories unfailingly involve him. (Mom, I swear that there are some posts on the way that detail your prowess in the kitchen as well; let it be known that while Dad provided half of my cook's DNA, Mom provided the other half.) So I will not belabor the point. I shall simply share another of Dad's recipes: herb breadsticks.

Mmm, herb breadsticks. These crunchy, chewy, buttery treats were made for the Thanksgiving table. They are chock full of sage -- the herb that would come to mind first if you forced me to make a list of herbs evocative of Thanksgiving. (If you forced me to make such a list, though, that would be kind of strange.) They also include a healthy amount of caraway seeds, which adds a wonderful salty dimension to the breadstick. They are loads of fun to make, rustic, beautiful and homespun.

Good luck getting them all to the Thanksgiving buffet, though. You'll think, Oh, there are lots of breadsticks here. I'll just have one more. Then soon you'll be full of sage and caraway and the bread basket will be empty. Try to remember that Thanksgiving is about bounty and harvest and sharing. The cornucopia is never shown depleted of its stores.

Maybe I can get Husband to hide the breadsticks from me. Seriously, I've just eaten three of them.



1 package yeast
1 1/4 c. water, between 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit
3 T. sugar
1 1/2 T. kosher salt
3 t. caraway seeds
1 t. ground sage
3 1/2 c. flour
1 T. unsalted butter, melted, plus more to brush over the finished breadsticks

Sprinkle yeast into the water, then add sugar and whisk to dissolve. Let sit until foam develops on the yeast mixture, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer combine salt, caraway seeds, sage and flour. Whisk to combine. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of butter, then the yeast mixture. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes. The dough will form a warm, smooth ball.

Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly oil the inside of the bowl with olive oil. Roll the dough in the bowl to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise 1 hour, or until a finger punched in the center doesn't rise back up.

Divide dough in two pieces. Roll out the first piece to about 6" x 12". (It is not necessary to flour the work surface; there is plenty of oil to prevent sticking.) Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 pieces. Then, using your fingers, roll each piece to about 12" long. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Place breadsticks on Silpat-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Mid-way through this second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the breadsticks for 18-20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Consume!

Makes 24 breadsticks.


Anonymous said...

This was first attempt at baking bread of any type on my own. My mother was a wonderful cook and an extraordinary baker. People often don't believe me but I think I was 15-16 years old before I ever saw purchased bread product in our house. I remember they were Pilsbury croissant rolls. Anyways, although I love to cook, bake muffins and such, I just never baked bread. They turned out wonderful and were a nice little reminder of older times. Thanks for the recipe!

Dianne said...

Kimberli, I'm so glad the recipe turned out well for you -- thank you for reading! How lucky you were to have wonderful home-baked bread in your house growing up...yum.