The other day I was at my friend’s house. She was telling me about how excited she was to try a recipe for Olive Garden breadsticks when I made a confession. “I don’t get why everybody loves Olive Garden breadsticks so much.” This was of course met by a look of surprise and horror that I’m sure you just matched as you stare at your computer screen. It’s true, I am not a huge fan of those Olive Garden breadsticks. They taste fine and if I happen to find myself at an Olive Garden I will likely eat my share of several basketfuls (I am a carb-addict after all), but if I’m going to be making breadsticks in my own home they certainly will not be patterned after them. My go to breadsticks recipe is the one my mom made when I was growing up. They’re titled “Best Breadsticks” and can be found in my mom’s kitchen in a three-ring binder stuffed to the brim with delicious recipes. I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are mouthwatering good. They always disappear at potlucks and off our own table. The best part is that they aren’t even that difficult (for bread anyway) and are adaptable to many variations.
Best Breadsticks1 Tbsp yeast 1 Tbsp honey or sugar 1 ½ C warm water 1 Tbsp milk 1 tsp salt 4-4 ½ C flour Toppings: 4 TBSP butter and any of the following: Garlic powder (or fresh minced and sautéed if you’re feeling fancy), shredded parmesan cheese (During the college years I used the stuff in the shakers with great success), salt, Italian seasoning, Rosemary, etc.
Mix yeast and honey/sugar in water. Let sit until foamy. (Tip: When measuring honey spritz the measuring cup/spoon with cooking spray or swirl a tiny bit of oil into it prior to measuring. This will make it so the honey slides right out.)
Add milk and salt.
Gradually add flour until the dough forms a ball. (I do this old school with a wooden spoon which I abandon towards the end to mash and knead it all together with my bare hands.)
For fluffy breadsticks: Rip off pieces of dough and roll out into snake shapes (can make two skinnier snakes and roll them together if you want to be fancy). Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes in a nice warm place. (I’ll often put them on top of my oven while it’s preheating or on the counter above the dishwasher if the dishwasher is running. Allowing the breadsticks to rise a little longer will make them even more fluffy, but the 30 minute rise will still produce delicious results.) Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cheese and/or desired spices. At a minimum I always use garlic, salt, and parmesan. It probably goes without saying, but the more butter and toppings the
worse they are for youbetter they taste.
For crispy breadsticks (Noel says they’re more like pretzels, but this was how I cut corners as a college student and since I have a love for all things crispy, I cannot resist them.): Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cheese and/or desired spices. Cut into strips and transfer to cookie sheets.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Pairs well with any kind of soup or pasta. Shown here with Pioneer Woman’s Skillet Bowtie Chicken Alfredo. I should also mention that I generally half the recipe as I prefer fresh breadsticks and half a recipe is pretty much perfect for our little family. Enjoy!