Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Monday, 8 August 2016

Dough Sticks

I always look forward to ordering the fluffy, pillowy dough sticks that you get in many 'Italian' restaurants. I love how the soft, rich dough often burns the top of my mouth, as I greedily tuck in before they have had chance to cool. I have tried, and failed, many times to make lovely soft and airy rolls, but they always end up too hard, too crusty or completely raw in the middle.
  From experimenting with many different recipes, I have learned that the two things you need for a soft, light bread are fat and air, so I have tried to incorporate both into my dough.  I have proved these dough sticks in the same way I would do a ciabatta, in a greased rectangular tub, so that you only have to gently tip the dough out to shape, therefore keeping in as much air as possible. These dough sticks are incredibly moreish and certainly wont disappoint. They taste best still a little warm from the oven. Serve alongside a pizza for the ultimate carb fest.

Makes 6 fat dough sticks.

For the sticks:

250g strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little more for greasing)
7g dried yeast
175ml water

For the topping:
1 tomato, cut into small slices
10g parmesan, grated
50g cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil

Grease a medium sized, rectangle lunch-box with olive oil.
Place the flour into a large bowl, and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, oil and water and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into the greased lunch-box, put the lid on and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, gently tip it out onto an oiled surface.
Being as gentle as possible, (you want to keep as much air in as you can, as this will make the sticks light and fluffy) cut the dough into six rectangles.
Place the rectangles onto a lined baking tray and place a few slices of tomato on top of each one.
Sprinkle over the basil and cheeses and then cover the sticks with a tea towel.
Leave the dough sticks to rise again, for around 20 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the dough sticks have puffed up, bake them for around 15 minutes, or until they have turned a light golden brown.
Let the sticks cool slightly on the baking tray before serving.

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