Wet Wintry Weekends strongly urge me to bake something if only to keep the oven on so the kitchen area where I hang out is warm, not to mention the hearty aroma that draws the kids to the dining area even if they are engaged in their own activities.
I had visions of clicking these shiny brown and dapper breadsticks, twirling and beckoning from a lean tall basket set among an earthen bowl of steaming Tomato Florentine soup and a rustic plate of crispy Romaine leaves, with some lush tomatoes and herbs strewn about an aged wooden cutting board, along with my unbleached muslin napkin...
Of course, in the rush to serve the kids, I usually end up using the same old blasé white dish that I always use for clicking my food pictures... No matter. Food Styling & Photography can wait, but eager little tummies don't have to.
It has become such a cliché at home about me photographing everything I cook that it didn't surprise me when the seven year old patiently explained to the 4 year old on her own birthday, "Not yet, Oggie, my cake is not ready yet. Mama has not taken a picture, see? It is in the nook, on her photo table. That means we have to wait till she has taken the pictures before we get to eat it."
Not that Guilt is in short-supply for my mind, but, this sort of sends me into self-chastising mode. And then I remind myself that someday when my little girl asks me how to make those amazing breadsticks I seem to whip up, I can send her right here to Delectable Victuals.
Top the breadsticks with favorite herbs/spices, or with cinnamon sugar for that breakfast/dessert dish, twist it as I did or roll it into the traditional cigar shape, braid it or lay it out in a spiral like cinnamon rolls... these breadsticks are a lot of fun to make.
Allow for plenty of time to rise in a warm place. I typically start breads and such right after breakfast on weekend mornings to have it ready for dinner. Some recipes, I let it rise overnight to bake it fresh on a Sunday morning.
I typically add flaxmeal and nutritional yeast to my recipes, but can be omitted. Substitute these with flour as the recipe calls. And, although baking is an art and a science, requiring care and precision on the measurements, I tend to be a bit lax about it and be satisfied with what turns out.
¾ cup milk
1 Tblsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tblsp butter or shortening, softened
¼ cup warm water (about 110° F)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup flaxmeal
2 Tblsp Nutritional yeast
2½ cups sifted unbleached flour (more or less)
Oil for greasing
Topping: 1 egg white, coarse salt, minced garlic, dried parsley, sesame seeds
Scald milk in a pan, off heat stir in sugar, salt and butter and cool to lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle yeast, stir; allow to sit till bubbly.
Add the milk mixture and the flaxmeal, whole wheat flour and about 1 cup flour to the yeast mixture and beat at medium speed till smooth.
Add more flour, a little at a time, and knead till a smooth elastic dough forms.
Grease the large bowl, shape the dough into a ball, coat it with the oil and allow to rise in the greased bowl till doubled in volume.
Roll the risen dough into about ¾ inch thick rectangle; cut 1" strips about 6" or 8" long.
Twist or roll the strips and place them in a greased baking sheet and allow to rise again for about 20-25 minutes.
Top with the garlic herb egg wash for that shiny golden top.
Bake in a 400°F oven for about 8-10 minutes till done.