Golden Sesame Breadsticks
These crunchy, golden breadsticks can be made entirely with all-purpose flour, but why not help yourself to some fiber, in delicious form, by adding a cup of whole wheat? I promise, they’ll be light, crunchy, and great tasting! They’re just the ticket for enjoying with a drink out on the deck, while the burgers and dogs are grilling.
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup cool water
pinch of instant yeast
1 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour, white or traditional
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 rounded tablespoons Lora Brody Dough Relaxer (optional, for easier rolling)
2 1/2 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor (optional, but delicious)
3 tablespoons Baker's Special Dry Milk OR nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, 5-Seed Baking Blend, or seeds of your choice, for topping
The night before you want to bake the breadsticks, make the biga by combining the 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of yeast. Stir to blend, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise at cool room temperature for 12 to 14 hours. The dough will become nice and bubbly.
Next day, combine the biga with the remaining dough ingredients, except the seeds, and mix and knead them together —by hand, mixer or bread machine—till you've made a smooth, very soft dough. I mixed this in a stand mixer: 4 minutes with the flat beater paddle at high speed, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl; then 4 minutes with the dough hook at medium speed. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and allow it to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it’ll become puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 10” x 20” rectangle. For easiest handling, cut the rectangle lengthwise into two 5” x 20” strips. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle it with seeds. (To make the seeds really stick well, spray with Quick Shine instead of brushing with olive oil.) Roll the dough lightly with a rolling pin to press the seeds in.
Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut the dough (the short way) into 1/2"-wide, 5"-long strips. A multi-cutter makes short work of this process. Twist the ends of each strip in opposite directions to make a "twist," and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough is soft, so they'll stretch as you work with them; that's why it's easier to begin with a 5"-wide strip of dough. Let the breadsticks rest, covered, for 1 hour; they won't appear to rise much, but they will in fact be getting lighter.
Bake the breadsticks in a preheated 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven top to bottom midway through. They’ll be golden-brown when they’re done; watch them closely towards the end, as they’ll begin to brown quickly. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. Yield: about 5 dozen 6” to 7” crunchy breadsticks.
When you’re making breadsticks from a soft dough, always cut the pieces shorter than you want the final breadsticks to be. Not only do they increase in length (slightly) as they bake, the unbaked dough also tends to stretch as you transfer shaped breadsticks from work surface to baking pan. Typically, a 5” breadstick will have expanded to 6 1/2”–7” by the time it’s baked.
2.What’s the best way to make seeds stick to your breadsticks, rolls, or bagels? Well, the worst way is to just sprinkle them on the dough, without coating first. Most of the seeds will have fallen off by the time the roll or bagel is done baking. The easiest, and a fairly effective coating is warm water, spritzed onto the shaped dough from a spray bottle. A more effective, more time-consuming procedure is to brush the shaped dough with an egg white glaze (1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water). Finally, our favorite is Quick Shine, a spray coating that’s easy as water and more effective than any other medium for making seeds stick!
3.When you’re making thin, crisp breadsticks, put the thicker ones around the edge of the pan (where they’ll bake faster), the thinner ones in the center. Watch breadsticks carefully towards the end of their baking time; they can go from golden to deep brown to burned rather quickly. If they appear to be baking unevenly, simply remove the pan from the oven and rearrange them, so that the browned ones are towards the center of the pan, the less-brown ones towards the edge.