Fennel and Sage Breadsticks
The combination of fennel seed and dried sage gives these sticks an unmistakably Italian flavor. Make them a part of your next antipasto plate.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS 24–36 STICKS
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 4–5 cups bread flour
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup whole fennel seeds
To make the sponge, combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup bread flour and beat 1 minute. Cover and let stand at room temperature 8–12 hours.
Add to the sponge the milk, rubbed sage, ground fennel, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough remaining bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness.
Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and pinch off golf-ball-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a very thin rope, no longer than the baking pan. Place on prepared pans, ½″ apart.
Brush remaining olive oil across the sticks. Evenly sprinkle on fennel seeds. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 8–10 minutes. Cool and serve.
Any stick can be made in any shape: free-form, rolled tight and thin, or curled on the end like a fancy shepherd's crook. Feel free to shape the sticks to suit your mood.