I thought it was time to tackle things that didn’t bake in a tiny tins. It was time to deal with things that need to rise and recipes that use the term “knead” as in I “kneeaaddd you” or “head shoulders knead and toes” or, you know, massuesing bread on a floured surface. Cue the beauty shot of Flo.
Thankfully, when I left for college way back in the olden times (2003), my dad put together a cook book for me of all the recipes he usually made. In it was my Italian grandmother’s bread stick recipes. And since my bread pans are still in transit… bread sticks it it!
Throwing a bunch of stuff into a pan – including water – and heating it all up was new. I always felt like the stove top was never going to be touched during baking. But here we are! I was very skeptical from the get-go that I was going to be successful at this.
My dad always baked. He makes a mean dinner, but he really rocks it out with pies and bread and cookies. I used to sit at the kitchen table and watch him cook. He would talk me through every recipe like he was Julie Child – sometimes even with the voice. And sometimes I would help him, but mostly I would lick the wooden spoon or play with the extra dough. Why would I cook? We have him!
Waiting for the stove top mixture to cool was the most painfully slow experience. I stirred, I poked it with my finger, it was hot, I stirred, I poked it with my finger, I walked away, I came back and checked, still too hot. And now that I was dealing with yeast – the possibility of killing it by putting the little guys in a pot of too hot stuff was stressful. So I waited.
Cooker-lady loving the photographer loving the cooker-lady.
Finally! Bring on the yeast!! Still though, the voice in my head was yelling at me: Don’t kill them, don’t kill them, don’t kill them.
It bubbled into a gross light brown goop and floated at the top. In other words, it lives!!
Add the flour and I hear it turns into something nearly edible. I hear.
Here’s the deal, and here is where I kind of failed: When I took out the lump of dough, some of it was soft and dough-like, but then there was this whole section of feathery dough, dry dough that wouldn’t stick to anything. What I should have done (thanks to a call to my Dad) was add a tiny bit of warm water and then soften it up.
Instead, I tried to just mix the bits in. And even then there was a handful of feathery dough bits that wouldn’t stick to anything. So I just threw them away.
After rising, ta da!!And next up – the most anticipated part of any bread experience (besides the eating)…
On half of the batch I added sea salt and rosemary with the help of an egg white/water mixture. I don’t have a brush so I just used my hands to spread the slimy mix onto the breadsticks. Sigh.
The best part, hands down, about the new kitchen is the OVEN LIGHT!!!
It feeds my need to take photographs of baked goods and send them to my dad, and my need to watch slow changing things …. change. A la the slow cooker. Thankfully the oven is a bit faster.
So the weird feather dough? I could feel little pieces from my “mushing it into the main ball” technique. It made parts of the breadsticks not want to stick to other parts. I worried I’d be able to taste the hard bits, or they would bake funny.
I don’t have any cooling racks, so we just moved the tins to the chairs once they were cool enough so I could keep baking and using the warm oven. They are supposed to be crispy, not doughy like the Olive Garden, so they’ll come out of the oven with a hard outside, but a soft-ish inside while they are still warm.
Things I could have done better: Handled the feathery dough, made them even skinnier (as they are supposed to be more like pencils and less like magic markers… as Kamel put it), and that’s about it. They are a little softer than they should be because they are a little fatter than they should be.
But noms, they were really good. So, it’s another baking success! Next time I’ll do better, but so far I’m doing pretty good!