Bread Sticks

Last week’s baking blog suggested that me and my lovely wife were going to make/bake some walnut whips. Unfortunately, cleaning, tidying and painting the back room has got in the way. It’s not really ‘unfortunately’ as the house is starting to look really good, although there are always more things to do in a hundred year old terrace house, damp being the main concern.

With a little less time available I decided to have a go at baking some bread sticks, using a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from his excellent bread book. If you’re new to bread making this is the book to buy, much better than anything from Paul Hollywood.

The recipe was quite simple; half bread flour, half plain flour, warm water, salt and yeast. This was all mixed in the food mixer using the dough hook. After ten minutes I had a nice smooth ball of dough which was left to prove while we took Nelly (our Pointer) to the park. On our return the dough had doubled in size and was ready to be rolled out.

Using a dough scraper I split off about a third of the dough to be rolled roughly, adding flavours. I made a batch with cheese, some with paprika and the last lot with chili flakes. One very enjoyable thing with Hugh is that he actively suggests not to make them identical, the opposite of Mr Hollywood. Rejoice in their uniqueness and their obviously homemade qualities. Nelly was also very interested in what was going on in the kitchen.

They tasted amazing and so much better than the bland and uniform offerings you would normally find in the shops. What I have learnt is that they can take big strong flavours, so don’t be afraid of using very strong cheese or lots of chili. The last batch I also brushed a little olive oil over them before a sprinkling of salt, and these turned out slightly more browned and looked even better. One drawback is that they don’t keep. Even placing the excess sticks in an air tight box they had gone soft by the following morning.

On Christmas Eve we like to snuggle on down with drinks and snacks, and I will definitely be making a batch of these beauties.

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