Sourdough bread sticks

Sourdough bread stick – a good use for extra sourdough starter.

It hurts me to waste the sourdough every day that I throw away when I feed my starter.  The reality is that I just can’t take the time to make a loaf of bread sticks in ovenbread every day and there are some days something short of a full loaf is perfect anyway. Some days in summer when we have lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and peppers all ripe in the garden there is nothing better than a home grown salad… and we will often bake a potato to make it a meal. But sometimes a change up with some other starchy type food would be nice. That’s where bread sticks come in. And I found the perfect pan for making them along with the perfect recipe.

You don’t need a bread stick pan at all of course… you could just roll & cut your bread sticks and put them on a baking pan or baking stone. But I found a small inexpensive bread stick pan that keeps them the same size so they are more visually appealing. We all know that eating something that looks good just seems to taste better don’t you think?

The pan I found is the Wagner 1164 Non-Stick Cast Iron Bread and Sausage Pan. And one thing that’s great is that it costs less than $11 right now at Amazon. I was at the restaurant supply company and they had one but it was aluminum (which I try to stay away from) and it was over $30… which is what bread stick panstarted me looking for alternatives. I just hate spending a lot of money on something that has one use (although per the name I could learn to make sausage!).

I have tried sourdough bread sticks without sourdough before and they were so-so. Often turning out crunchy. But let me tell you this recipe I have come up with is right on the mark if you like big soft chewy simple bread sticks. The kind you find in a real Italian restaurant.
Here is the recipe. Keep in mind that I am cooking for two, three if you include the dog. My husband is not a fan of spices or spicy things so I usually always start things out very basic and simple, and then try and a find ways to add sauces or toppings separately for my food.

Sourdough breadsticks
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Bread
Serves: 8-10 sticks
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup sourdough starter
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp water (or more if your dough is stiff)
  • ½ C. Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix the sourdough, flour and salt until combined. This will let you judge how stiff your dough will be. Add the olive oil. Then add the water. Add more water. Because this is a small batch I just mix by hand but you could use a stand mixer also.
  2. Add in the Parmesan and stir to combine. At this point the dough is a bit sticky but that’s okay.
  3. Let it sit for a while to rest and rise. It doesn’t rise a huge amount as the salt will slow fermentation but increases gluten. I have found a short rise time of about an hour is minimally sufficient before moving to step 4 as these bread sticks are not huge. But I have also done a 2 hour rise, fold, 1 hour rise and the final product has been very tender. Regardless, the dough will be very sticky at this point.
  4. Place dough onto floured surface. Knead dough until it feel elastic… you will see the difference and know when it's done. It only took about a minute or two. Don’t over knead the dough here.
  5. Shape the dough into one large rectangle approximately the length of the bread sticks you want. Let this rectangle rest for 20 minutes covered with saran wrap or lightly dust the surface and place a clean towel over the dough.
  6. Using the Wagner Cast Iron bread stick pan called for pre-heating the pan in the over at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes prior to adding the bread sticks. Note: you will need to season your bread stick pan the first time you use it.
  7. Cut the dough rectangle into the number of bread sticks you want. The pan holds 8 sticks so that's what I cut. I use a pizza cutter which works great. I would separate the dough sticks as soon as they are cut as they will stick back together quickly.
  8. Lightly oil the hot pan. I use a spray oil as its goes on evenly and is simple on a hot pan. Put the cast iron pan on a cookie sheet as some of the oil may leak out during baking and the pan will catch it.
  9. Place the bread sticks into the pan. They will stick out over the top which is fine. They will expand a little but not so much it’s a problem.
  10. At this point you can brush a small amount of olive oil or butter onto the bread sticks. Add some kosher or artisanal salt on top if you like. I have also baked them plain for the first 10 minutes and then brushed on the butter. Both ways work but I think, unscientifically, the bread sticks have a softer crust while still browning if you wait to add the butter.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops turn lightly brown. Sometimes I do turn the convection on towards the end of the time to help get brown.

 

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