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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Add Crunch to Summer Salads with Breadsticks

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist
Hobby Farms Contributors

Add a little crunch to your next summer salad with homemade crunchy breadsticks. Photo by John Ivanko (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by John Ivanko
We make Crunch Breadsticks to save for adding to salads when it gets too hot to do much cooking.

As the temperature continues to dance in the high 90s here in Wisconsin, we’re ready to fully pull our salad greens from the garden before they bolt. Because it’s too hot to get out the fryer for our favorite Farmstead Greens with Honey Jalapeño Dressing and Fried Tofu, we still need a little something to perk up our final salad-eating hurrah. We turn to our key recipe theory: When you need a dash of excitement in a dish, add crunch.

In this case, Crunchy Breadsticks do the trick and make the perfect partner for a summer salad. More fun than a crouton, these breadsticks can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for simple summer-salad suppers.

To keep our farmstead kitchen cool, Lisa will make the initial dough in the evening and keep it in the refrigerator overnight for a slow first rising. The next morning, before the heat kicks in, she’ll finish the final baking. First, she’ll take the dough out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature; then she divides and rolls out the breadsticks for the final rising. Lisa, the early-morning riser of our family crew, will stick these in to bake while she has the oven going for the bed-and-breakfast muffins. All baking is done while the cool morning breezes are still blowing in the window, and we’re set for breadsticks for the week.

Feel free to experiment with adding summer herbs to these sticks, such as basil and dill. A bunch of breadsticks tied together with a ribbon make a fun summer potluck hostess gift.

Recipe: Crunchy Breadsticks

Yield: 40 breadsticks

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2¼ tsp.) yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • extra salt for sprinkling

Preparation
In large mixing bowl (we use our Kitchenaid Mixer), stir together yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes or until frothy.

Add vegetable oil, salt and flour. Knead dough using a dough hook or by hand for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and pliable, adding more flour as needed.

Grease large bowl. Roll dough into a ball and place in bowl. Turn dough to coat surface with oil, and cover with cloth. Let sit in warm place about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide into 40 equal portions. Roll each portion as long and thin as you can, about 8 to 12 inches. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.

Cover again with cloth, and let sit in a warm place for about 30 more minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush breadsticks with egg white and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees F, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until crispy. Watch carefully during the final baking so breadsticks turn brown and crispy and do not burn.

Let cool completely and store in sealed, dry container to maintain crispiness.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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