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Sesame Breadsticks

by Claire Thomson from The Five O’Clock Apron

Also known as grissini, breadsticks are a staple of the snack cupboard and making your own is quick, easy and delicious.

Introduction

Breadsticks are a staple of the snack cupboard. Those aerated cardboard ones you can buy are just that – air. Making your own is a doddle. Simply bread dough knocked into strips and baked. Sesame is popular with my kids and a batch of these lasts no time at all.

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Ingredients

150g strong white bread flour, plus extra for sprinkling
100g strong wholemeal flour
3g salt
1/2 tsp dried yeast
190g cold water
about 1tbsp olive oil for oiling you hands and work surface
2 tsp sesame oil, plus extra for helping the sesame seeds to stick
3 tsp sesame seeds
coarse polenta or olive oil, for the baking sheet (optional)

Method

1. Put the flour, salt and yeast into a big mixing bowl.

2. Add the water. Cold water is fine to use. The prove doesn’t need to be jump-started by warm water. A slower prove makes for better bread.

3. Using a large metal spoon, give the ingredients a vigorous mixing to combine. After a minute or so of mixing, the dough should be cohesive and pulling away from the sides of the bowl in a big ball. It will feel wet. It should do: don’t be tempted to add more flour.

4. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rest on the worktop for an hour or more – you want the dough to approximately double in size.

5. When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knock it back, mixing in the sesame oil as you do so.

6. Divide the dough into about 15 thin finger-width strips and roll out to about 15 cm – give each strip a twist or two along the length to stop the dough bulging too much in the oven.

7. Lightly sprinkle a baking sheet with polenta or, if you’d rather, lightly grease with olive oil, and position the breadsticks, spaced apart, on the prepared baking sheet.

8. With your finger, lightly trail each breadstick with some more sesame oil and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

9. Let the breadsticks rest on the tray for 15 minutes before baking.

10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Bake the breadsticks for 15–20 minutes, until golden and crisp.

11. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wine rack.

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