Bread Sticks

From Maggie Kast

Makes 30 breadsticks, or 1 loaf plus 15 long breadsticks

[Ed: I think Maggie used a lot of paprika. These had a serious kick!]

Ingredients

2 pounds bread flour (more if needed)
2 ¾ cups warm water
4 ½ teaspoons yeast
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
coarse salt
hot smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera, hot)
assorted seeds such as caraway, fennel, and sesame

Preparation

Sprinkle yeast on water at around 100 degrees F, add sugar and let rest 5 minutes. It should bubble. Then stir to mix. Put flour in large bowl, mix with salt and then add yeast mixture all at once. Fold together with a rubber spatula and turn out on board. Wash the bowl (this interlude allows the flour to absorb the liquid). Knead until shiny, stretchy and not too sticky, adding more flour if needed (but slap it around a bit first, that may be all that’s needed). Let rise until double in bulk, 2-3 hours. Punch down and rise again, 1-2 hours.

To make breadsticks, roll out dough about 1/3 inch thick (or roll out half of dough and form the other half into a loaf). Cut into strips 1/3 inch wide. Grease 2 cookie sheets or use a Silpat. Take each strip and twist one end clockwise and the other counterclockwise. Sprinkle salt and seeds or paprika on a board and roll each stick, thinning it a bit and coating fully. Place on baking sheet. Let rise 20-30 minutes and bake at 350 F, rotating pans, until brown and crisp on the outside but still soft within. For a loaf, let rise until it doubles in bulk and bake at 400 F about 45 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped.

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