Making delicious breadsticks is a lot easier than you may think. Ljuana Xuereb’s dough recipes will allow you to lose yourself in the magical process that allows a dense mass of dough to become a well-risen loaf of fresh bread; a flaky, buttery croissant; or perfectly formed and scrumptiously filled eclairs.
Makes 15-20 loaves
Prep time 40 mins plus 120 mins or more proving
500g strong white flour (plus extra for dusting)
10g instant yeast
375ml tepid water
2 tbsp. olive oil
500g pitted green olives, well drained
Fine semolina for dusting (optional)
Oil a 2-3-litre square container. Place flour, salt and yeast (making sure the salt and yeast do not come into contact) in a large mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Add half of the water and start mixing on low speed. As the dough starts to come together, gradually add the remaining water. You might not need all the water. Continue mixing for a further 5-8 mins on medium speed. The dough should now be wet and stretch easily when pulled. Add the olive oil slowly and mix for a further 2 mins. Add the olives and mix until well distributed.
Tip the dough into the oiled container, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for at least 1 hour or until it triples in size. Line 3 or 4 baking trays with baking parchment.
Next comes the tricky bit. Flour your work surface heavily, adding a little bit of semolina (if using). Carefully tip the dough onto the surface. It should slide out rather easily as it will be very loose. Do not knock it back and try to handle it as little as possible. You want to retain as much of the trapped air in the dough as possible. Dust the top with a little bit of flour and gently stretch out into a rectangle. With the long edge of the dough facing you, cut 2cm strips. Carefully lift and put in the lined tins placing them apart. Loosely arranging them into straight lines. Keep some extra flour at hand as you might need it to handle the wet dough.
Cover the trays in plastic wrap and allow to prove for 30min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the dough sticks for 10-15mins. Cool on a wire rack.