Olive Garden often gets a bum rap, probably because people don’t find their food to be authentic Italian. While this may be true, there are a few things that Olive Garden makes really well. Topping my list would be their pasta e fagioli soup, alfredo sauce, lemon cream cake and their breadsticks. Oh, the breadsticks. I can’t tell you how much I love them dipped in alfredo sauce. I could just have breadsticks and sauce for lunch and be totally happy. But, since that would be frowned upon, I usually get soup and salad to better round out my meal. They are just so soft (unless you get a basket of overly brown ones- hate that!) with just the right amount of greasiness from the butter and a salty garlic topping. I must say, they are craveable! With three children, it is often difficult and expensive to go out to dinner. So, when the craving hits, I can just make their breadsticks at home. It’s really is easy, only taking about 2 hours, start to finish, and only 30 minutes of that is active time- making the dough, kneading, shaping, and basting with butter. The recipe makes a large batch, 16 breadsticks. But, they are so good, you really won’t have trouble getting rid of them.
Yield: 16 breadsticks
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water to bloom the yeast (110°-115°F)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fine salt
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (adjust by taste)
Pinch of dried oregano (I omitted)
To make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water into mixer bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water, mixing with the paddle until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.
Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1.5 inch long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth and let them rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. While they bake, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano . Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt. I serve them with alfredo sauce for dipping (from Annie’s Eats). Enjoy!
Source: Food Network
- For the topping: Be sure to use garlic powder (not garlic salt) or your breadsticks will be too salty. And Kosher salt, not fine salt, for the same reason.
- I like to use more butter than the recipe states, but feel free to adjust to your taste.
- I like my breadsticks barely brown because I like them super soft. But, if you like your breadsticks more golden and crispy, you can just cook them longer than the 15 minutes. You might need to baste them with more butter to get them to brown to your liking.
- I use a thermometer to double check the water temperature before pouring it into the yeast. There is nothing worse than having water so hot that it kills your yeast and ruins the recipe. The back of the yeast packet will state preferred water temperatures if you bloom the yeast (let the yeast and water mingle until it foams) or if you add it directly into the dry ingredients.