So, let me guess what you’re thinking:  Hey, there’s already a breadstick recipe up on this blog, isn’t there?  They’re nice, fairly dense, have a bit of a crust to them, not bad at all if that’s what you’re after.  In that post, I talked about my “last meal” at Olive Garden, and how I wanted to recreate everything in it — breadsticks, salad with croutons, ravioli.  I like the kind of breadsticks I made then, nearly a year ago now, but they just weren’t like the breadsticks from Olive Garden — soft, chewy, light.  And I wanted to make breadsticks like those.

It took a lot of learning and trying new ideas, but it finally paid off.  :-)  The trick, as with any gluten-free dough you want to be light enough to rise well but also want to keep its shape, was finding the right mold for the dough.  It was Jocelyn’s idea to use a cream canoe pan to get the right shape and size for soft breadsticks, and it’s really worked out well.  The pan looks like this:

The dough’s quick and easy to make, they take about an hour to rise enough, then you just pop them in the oven, take them out, brush them with butter, and tuck in.  They’re very soft on the outside and nice and chewy in the middle.  You can adjust the seasoning if you like, of course, but as these stand I’m told they’re a decent ringer for Olive Garden breadsticks — sans the gluten.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Less talk, more recipe.  :-)

Soft Breadsticks

Yield:  8 thick, medium-length breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 T + 1 tsp dough mix
  • 2 T + 1 tsp gluten substitute
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp basil
  • 3/4 tsp parsley
  • 1 1/2 T oil
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • a few tablespoons of butter for brushing

Directions:

1.  Whisk together the yeast, 2 tsp sugar, and warm water in a small bowl (or any other container), until the yeast and sugar are dissolved.  Set aside to proof at least 5 minutes or until bubbly and foamy.

2.  Combine the dry ingredients — dough mix, gluten substitute, 1 1/2 T sugar, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and parsley — in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Then, once the yeast mixture is bubbly, add the oil and yeast mixture to the stand mixer and combine until the dough is smooth, with no lumps left.

3.  Lightly grease the cream canoe pan, then divide the dough evenly among the 8 bowls with a soft spatula and spoon.  Get them as even as you can, to make sure none of the breadsticks are substantially larger or smaller than the others once they rise.  Let rise until the bowls are about full (1 to 1 1/2 hours).

4.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit, then pop the risen breadsticks in for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  A few minutes before they’re done, melt a few tablespoons of butter in the microwave.  Take the breadsticks out of the pan as soon as they come out of the oven (they don’t need to cool), then brush them over with the butter.  Now it’s time to eat!  Dig in while they’re still warm.  :-)