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Everyone loves these bread sticks.
Made Without a Starter
Makes 40 long bread sticks
Equipment: three 17 x 12-inch sheet pans

Everyone loves these bread sticks. They are loaded with aromatic spices and are delicious on their own or served with dips, soups, or salads. Try them, for example, dipped in hummus or baba ganoush. Lay them across the top of a bowl of soup or on a composed salad as an attractive garnish. Almost eighteen inches long, they make an eye-catching centerpiece displayed in a tall crock or a basket. They are fun to serve at a party, and if you have any leftovers, they still taste great the next day. The dough goes together quickly and only requires a short rise after they are cut, so you can have bread sticks in the oven just two hours after kneading them. Make sure to use fresh spices to get bread sticks with the fullest flavor.

Posted by Amy's Bread Published © 2021 Amy Scherber / Wiley · Reproduced with permission.
  • Step 1

    Combine the very warm water and yeast in a medium mixing bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes.

  • Step 2

    If you have a spice grinder, briefly pulse the mustard seeds and anise seeds, 10 to 20 seconds, to chop them slightly; do not grind them to a fine powder. You can also crush the spices using a mortar and pestle. Or spread them on a work surface, cover with a thin towel, and crush them with the bottom of a heavy pot.

  • Step 3

    Add the lukewarm water, olive oil, and molasses to the yeast mixture and mix with a wire whisk until well combined.

  • Step 4

    Combine the flour, mustard, anise, sesame seeds, salt, and coriander in a large bowl and mix with your fingers to blend. Pour the yeast mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with your fingers, scraping the sides of the bowl and folding the dough over onto itself until it gathers into a mass. The dough will be moist. If it feels too firm, add more warm water 1 tablespoon at a time.

  • Step 5

    Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, using as little additional flour as possible. The dough should be slightly firm, bouncy, and supple.

  • Step 6

    Pat the dough into a rectangle. Brush it on both sides with olive oil and place it on an oiled space on your work surface. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature (75º to 77ºF) for about 1 hour, until not quite doubled in volume.

  • Step 7

    Lightly flour a 22 x 7-inch area on the work surface and sprinkle it with fine cornmeal, keeping in mind that you will be cutting the bread sticks on this surface. Keeping the dough flat, gently move it to the cornmeal-sprinkled area and stretch and pat it to form a narrow rectangle about 20 inches long and 6 inches wide.

  • Step 8

    Line three 17 x 12-inch sheet pans with parchment paper and sprinkle them lightly with cornmeal. Brush the dough with a little olive oil and sprinkle it lightly with kosher salt. Using a dough cutter, cut the rectangle into four equal pieces, cutting across the 6-inch width. Be careful to cut gently against your countertop so you don’t scratch it. Cut each piece into 10 strips about H inch wide. Lift each strip and carefully stretch it as evenly as possible until it is 14 to 18 inches long (the length of your pans), and place it on the prepared sheet pan, leaving G inch between each strip for rising. Cover the pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Let the sticks rise for about 30 minutes, just until they are slightly puffy but not fully risen.

  • Step 9

    While the sticks are rising, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Position the oven racks in the middle and lower parts of the oven.

  • Step 10

    Place two of the baking sheets in the oven. (Leave the third pan of sticks at room temperature to bake when the oven is empty.) Using a plastic spray bottle, mist the sticks 6 to 8 times, then quickly shut the oven door. Spray the bread sticks again 2 minutes later.

  • Step 11

    Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans and reduce the oven temperature to 400ºF. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the sticks are light brown and the thinner parts are crisp. Watch them carefully, because the thin parts brown quickly near the end of the baking time. (It’s okay if the fatter parts are still slightly soft.) Place the sticks on racks to cool.

  • Step 12

    Reheat the oven to 425ºF, then bake the remaining pan of bread sticks.
    13. These sticks can be served as soon as they cool slightly, but they will get crunchier over time and are very good served the next day.

    Tips and Techniques
    We used unbleached all-purpose flour with a protein content of 11.7% for this dough.
    Use very fresh spices to get the fullest flavor in your bread sticks.

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