These Turin-style breadsticks are smooth with a soft interior. We’ve brushed ours with melted butter and herbs for an irresistible snack!
The breadstick conundrum. I don’t know quite ‘when’ it happened or how all I am certain of is that it ‘did’ – and I’m not sure there is a remedy. What was once culinary heresy has become orthodoxy, and it seems to have happened without anyone even noticing the change.
I’m talking about the seemingly abrupt and near total conversion of the phrase ‘breadstick,’ and how it today conjures images of what I can only recognize as ‘individual baguettes’ as opposed to the finger-thin or even pencil-thin ‘loaves’ of years gone by. Indeed, when Duke Amedeo of Savoy wrote of his love for ‘bone thin loaves’ in the late-1600s, which is among the first historical mentions of ‘breadsticks,’ he was talking about the slender loaves popularized in the then small town of Turin. Even today, the city is noteworthy for this yard-long, pencil-thin breadsticks placed on display in the windows of their heritage-protected bakeries.
This change in style has led some to call the new breadsticks ‘American Breadsticks.’ Perhaps fittingly, ‘American Breadsticks’ are described as being “plumper, greasier, and typically more seasoned than their traditional Italian counterparts, which tend towards slenderer, plainer ‘sticks’ as opposed to miniature ‘loaves.’”
Naturally, it was with that in mind that I decided to prepare a batch of ‘traditional’ breadsticks, the sort of breadstick that used to be popular here in New York made famous by Arthur Avenue bakeries, or that were served in the breadbaskets of old-school local Italian restaurants – Turin-style Breadsticks.
To start things off, we mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the amounts listed below in a large bowl or stand mixer, and mix until it is well combined.
Now, add in the oil and the hot water, and mix on slow for about two minutes. Once this is done, add in a half cup of flour, and continue to mix for another minute or two.
After that’s done, add in your final one and a half cups of flour, and mix until you have a soft dough.
Work the dough into a smooth ball, then divide it into 20 slices, and roll each slice into a long strip or ‘rope.’ Arrange the breadsticks on a parchment lined baking sheet and let them rest for about fifteen minutes.
Bake the breadsticks at a low temperature until they are golden. Finally, I topped the breadsticks off with an herbed butter and oil mixture that is brushed over them while they were hot and fresh out of the oven.
These breadsticks are served while they are still warm and a little soft. They pair beautifully with your favorite Italian dish and red sauce, but I also love them with an antipasto platter and a little red wine.
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Enjoy with Love!