Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crunchy Garlic and Herb Bread Sticks

I love crunchy bread sticks. They're one of my favorite snacks. Like pretzels, but not as salty. Even better, I can add all sorts of flavors to them.

This time I decided I wanted garlic bread sticks.

I'm not a huge fan of garlic powder, but it has its uses. The problem with most garlic powders is that unless you use a lot of it, it loses all its flavor before the jar is half gone. At that point, you might as well use sawdust, for all the flavor you'll get.

My solution is to buy dried garlic cloves or chunks and grind them myself. I don't grind them each time I need them, but I grind in small quantities. I do the same thing with ginger. The larger pieces stay potent a lot longer than the ground spices.

For the green herb here, I used parsley. Basil, oregano, rosemary, or thyme would also be great, but all those herbs pack a lot more flavor. If you substitute one of those for the parsley, I suggest that you use less, so the herbs don't become overpowering - I suggest no more than a teaspoon of the rosemary, and 1-2 teaspoons if you use one of the others.

Crunchy Garlic and Herb Bread Sticks

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer and let it soften for a minute before adding the bread flour.

Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the salt, garlic powder, parsley, and olive oil and continue kneading until everything is incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Flour your work surface, turn out the dough, and form it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough to a rectangle about 10x20 inches, trying to keep it an even thickness.

Cut the dough into 1/2 wide strips, 10 inches long. Pick up the strips one at a time, twist each into a spiral, and lay them on baking sheets, leaving room between them. They'll stretch a little as you twist them - that's fine.

When all the bread sticks are on the sheets, bake at 300 degrees until they are nicely browned and crisp, about 40 minutes.

Let them cool completely on a rack.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.