I wasn't trying to throw a pity party. But here's the thing: once a food appears at a family gathering and gets any kind of partisan support, it can never, ever be taken off the menu. The homemade breadsticks gained a huge following back when there were lots of little kids wanting to help make doughy snakes while the kitchen was buzzing with Thanksgiving cooking. Now those little hands are attached to big teenage & twenty year old bodies, none hankering for some extra work. But we must have those breadsticks on the table !
That's the Aperol Spritz in my mom's hand. Molto buono with breadsticks and a little goat cheese. Worth the effort.
This year, sister Marla and my parents did all the bread stick shaping. Not that they had any choice. I threw the mountain of dough at them the minute they walked into the house, gracious hostess that I am. We went for 50 long sticks (the length of the baking tray) instead of 100 the width of the tray. They look good set out in vases that way.
They're more crispy than chewy, but not dry. Want to make some? Ok, I'll share the recipe, it was given to me by someone I photographed on assignment in the 80's, and I have no idea where she got the recipe. Or maybe she made it up herself. She had a farm stand and made breadsticks to go with her jams & fruit butters.
(don't worry. I won't turn this recipe thing into a regular feature.)
Breadsticks ---makes approx 100 12" sticks or 50 20 "
recipe may be halved , divided by thirds or multiplied
In large bowl, dissolve 3 packets of yeast and 3 tablespoons sugar in 2 cups of warm water
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons salt
3 cups unbleached white flour
Beat until smooth , this should take several minutes.
Add, kneading in bowl, about 3 3/4 cups additional flour. Turn onto flat surface and knead for five more minutes.
Place back in cleaned bowl, coat lightly with olive oil, cover and let rise till doubled (at least an hour). Punch down.
Divide into walnut sized balls and roll between hands into very thin sticks, the length or width of the baking tray. Giving them a slight twist when placing them on trays helps them not to shrink back in length.
Let rise on baking tray for 1/2 hour. Pre-heat oven to 325 degreesF.
Before baking, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with coarse salt and seeds (we did black sesame this year, you can do any, or you can do herbs too).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until dark golden.