Monday, February 21, 2011

Italian Breadsticks and a Savory Braid

Earlier this week we had these crunchy bread sticks. Using the same dough we had pizza last night and tonight we had a savory braid that was similar to the danish I made a couple of weeks ago, but with a meat and cheese filling.

Italian Dough:
2 3/4 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 T. granulated yeast
1 1/2 T. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix everything but the flour. Then add in the flour. Let the dough rest on the counter for 2 hours before using then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in a covered container. Don't make the container air tight.

The bread sticks I made with the dough above would be perfect with soup or salad.

Bread Sticks
1 orange-sized blob of the above dough
After your dough is ready to use, take a orange-sized blob of it and put it on a floured surface. Roll it out fairly thin using more flour as needed. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 1/2 inch strips. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet twist the strips of dough. Brush the dough with an egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 T. of water). Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned.

Savory Braid
1 grapefruit-sized blob of the above dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a big rectangle. Put whatever filling you want to use down the center in a 2-3 inch channel.  Then cut 1/4 inch strips along the sides. Fold the strips into the middle to make a braided look. Press the strips together so they will hold. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg and 1 T. water mixed together).  Then bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (around 30 minutes). Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before cutting. This is really versatile. You could change the filling to pizza stuff, ham and cheese, or whatever you think of. If you don't want to make dough from scratch you could use a thawed loaf of frozen bread dough or a can or two of pizza dough.

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