Everyone loves the smell of freshly baked bread! Breadsticks are so simple to make, and taste so much better than shop bought ones. They are perfect to just nibble on, or to be served with a soup or dip. These black olive breadsticks are my favourite, but you could also use cheese, sun dried tomatoes, garlic or dried herbs. Sweet options use sugar instead of salt or a dusting of cinnamon.
500g strong white flour
10g dried yeast
400ml warm water
200g black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2tbs good quality olive oil
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast to about 3/4 of the water to activate it, and pour this over the flour. Mix thoroughly (I prefer by hand) until the dough starts to come together. Add the olives, the rest of the water and the olive oil, mixing for about 5-10 minutes, until it is well combined.
Cover the bowl with cling film, and leave until it has tripled in size.
After it has proofed, add the salt and mix one last time, tipping it out onto a floured surface. Char’s tip – Adding the salt before will slow down the growth rate of the yeast, so the dough won’t rise as much.
Preheat the oven to 220º.
On a floured surface roll out the sticks to about 35cm long (or to the length of your baking tray) and bake in batches for 10-15 minutes. This made 18 sticks for me, half I baked as they were, but they looked a bit anaemic when they came out. The other half I brushed with olive oil and dusted with Herbs de Provence.
** photos by Maia Horniak