I bought my bread machine years ago, when they were very much in vogue. I made bread in it a few times, and then it gathered dust. Why? I really wasn't happy with the loaves it made. I didn't like the shape, for one thing, and I also wasn't happy with the crust. I finally put it away and it sat in a cupboard, neglected.
Last summer, when I was determined to clear my house of things not needed, my bread machine got pulled out of the cupboard and put in the "donate" box. For several days I walked by it and finally I pulled it out, dusted it off, and decided to give it another chance. I discovered that while I didn't love the loaves it made, it was a great dough machine!
While I do love the therapeutic value of mixing and kneading bread dough by hand, sometimes my life needs the convenience of being able to put my dough ingredients in the bread machine and not worry about it until it's ready to shape. One evening last week I got home late from working at the thrift shop. I had signed up to bring bread to work for a salad luncheon at school, and I also needed to bake muffins to go with a story my class was reading the next day. It was so nice to be able to put ingredients into my bread machine and then make my muffins while my dough was being treated to a lovely massage in a heated spa.
If you don't have a bread machine, you can still make these breadsticks the traditional way. You just won't have the thumping noise in the background. :) Try them dipped in marinara, a good olive oil, or just enjoy them plain. This dough also makes a great pizza crust!
Soft Parmesan Breadsticks
adapted from this recipe on Allrecipes
1 1/8 cups of water (70-80 degrees F)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 Tablespoons butter, melted (more if you want to brush some on the breadsticks when they come out of the oven)
- In the pan of your bread machine, add first seven ingredients (all but melted butter) in the order your bread machine manufacturer suggests. Select dough setting.
- When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 20 pieces, roughly the same size.
- Roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long. Dip rope into melted butter, fold in half lengthwise and twist. Put the twisted rope on a greased baking sheet. Repeat for each piece of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.
- Variation: The original recipe called for adding 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon of fresh minced basil to the bread machine when you are making your dough. I wanted a plain breadstick this time, so I didn't add these. The recipe reviews for these with the added seasonings were very good, though.