Twisted Cornmeal Breadsticks with Fennel & Coarse Salt

Days off are usually pretty rewarding. Today has been spent in my jammies wandering around the apartment completing tasks on my to-do list. One of those tasks was to make breadsticks.

Making Bread 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #6

I haven’t made many batches of breadsticks. This particular recipe stood out though and seemed like a nice accompaniment to the carrot-parsnip soup we are having for dinner tonight. I adapted the recipe from a very old issue of Cooking Light magazine. It was nearly¬†vegan to begin with, so my changes are minimal.

Twisted Cornmeal Breadsticks with Fennel & Coarse Salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm, unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together milk, sugar, and yeast. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flours, cornmeal, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Using the dough hook, knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

3. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume. This should take about 1-1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 equal portions. Cover with a damp towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Roll each portion of dough into an 8-inch rope. Take two ropes and twist them together, pinching each end to seal well. Place breadsticks on prepared baking sheets. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap while you finish with the remaining dough.

Breadsticks 02

5. Once all breadsticks have been shaped, cover lightly with plastic and set back in the warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the water gently over the tops of the breadsticks and sprinkle with the fennel seed and salt mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffy. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Breadsticks 04

Sadly, by the time these finished baking, all daylight was lost. But, you can still see how pretty they are with the twisted shape. I loved the addition of fennel seeds on top. Now we are justing waiting for the soup to finish!