Soft, buttery bread sticks....this is a family favorite any time we have pasta.
I start with my dinner roll recipe.
This is my go-to recipe any time I want to make rolls.
I put 2 eggs into a drinking glass with HOT tap water.
Why? This will bring 'em down to room temperature in just a few minutes.
I want ALL my bread ingredients at room temperature.
I take 1 c. of milk.
I use skim milk because my family drinks a gallon a day.
Did you guess that I have boys?
I put in enough butter/margarine in the cup to raise the milk level to the 1 1/3 cup line.
It's easier than finding a 1/3 cup measure, packing in the butter and then scooping it out again into the milk.
Saves me a couple of steps. And another dirty dish!
I put the milk/butter mixture into my microwave.
Power 50 (half power) for 3 minutes.
The butter should be almost melted.
You don't want to kill your yeast with HOT butter....
Measure 2 cups of all purpose flour into the mixing bowl.
Add 1/3 c. sugar
1 T. of active dry yeast
3/4 t. salt
1 T. of vital wheat gluten.
Vital wheat gluten is entirely optional.
I turn the mixer on and mix the dry ingredients.
I then add in the butter/milk mixture
and the two eggs.
Remember? Those were the eggs that were sitting in the drinking glass of hot water.
Drain the water, and then crack the eggs into the flour.
I turn on the mixer and scrape down the sides/bottom of my mixing bowl with a spatula.
Sometimes, flour that sits in the bottom of the bowl doesn't get mixed in.
I cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it sit for 10 minutes.
This keeps the mixture nice and warm and allows the yeast to proof...
After 10 minutes, you should be able to see little bubbles coming up to the surface.
You might have to squint, but they're there!
This means your yeast is working. Working hard.
With my mixer on a low speed, I slowly add 2 cups of flour.
If you dump the entire contents into your bowl, you will have flour flying everywhere!
Sometimes I need 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 cups of flour.
When do I stop adding flour?
When the dough starts to come together onto the dough hook and almost cleans the sides of the bowl.
This is a good time to stop adding flour. Too much flour will make your bread heavy and dense.
I lift up the dough hook. Most of the dough is clinging onto the hook for dear life.
But it's not ready.
See how lumpy it is? It needs more kneading.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT add any more flour.
This is what the dough looks like after 2 more minutes of kneading...
It should look smooth and beautiful.
It should feel slightly tacky, but not stick to your fingers.
I use my trusty dough scraper to scrape down the sides of my mixing bowl.
I love this bowl scraper.
It's only 99 cents.
It has served me well!
I lightly spray the top of the dough to keep it moist and to keep it from sticking to the top of my plastic wrap (if it gets that high).
and cover it with plastic wrap.
Plastic wrap is my friend.
I can't live without it.
After 30 minutes in a warm, draft free place, I take a peek.
At my altitude, it only takes 30 minutes for my bread to double. It may take up to an hour where you live.
It looks like it has doubled.
I take two fingers and poke the dough about 1/4" deep.
No, it doesn't giggle like the Pillsbury dough boy.
See those indentations?
They stayed put. That means my dough is double.
The dough needs more time if the 'dents' try to come back up.
I lightly spray my counter top with oil.
I don't like to use flour....it adds more flour to my bread, making it heavier...
Here's my dough scraper again.
I use it to scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the counter top.
I use a serrated bread knife to cut it into two piles.
I shape the piles into two rounds and
cover it with plastic wrap.
I let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Resting allows the dough to relax and be like putty in my hands...
I cut each pile of dough into 12 pieces.
You can use a serrated bread knife or a bench knife, shown here.
Here's 12 pieces.
Some are larger than others.
Cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.
Pour 1/4 c. melted butter/margarine into a 9x13 pan. You can use a glass pan, but it won't give you a browned crust on the bottom of your bread sticks.
Swish the butter around to coat the entire bottom of the pan.
Roll each piece of dough into a long 'snake.'
I roll it slightly longer than the 9" width of my pan.
The elastic dough tends to 'shrink' back a little.
For Halloween, I shape these bread sticks into 'bones."
I roll each piece into the butter, coating the entire piece of dough.
After all the pieces of dough are rolled in the butter, you can sprinkle them with any of your favorite toppings.
I like Salad Supreme.
Any garlic spread or seasoning works great, too.
Parmesan cheese is good...
You can see that my bread sticks are not touching each other.
You want to allow some room for expansion.
Again, here is my plastic wrap...can't live without it...
I don't want those lovely bread sticks to dry out!
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until double.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.