Friday, 27 January 2012

Breadknobs and saltsticks



"It is not what things are; it is what they seem to be. Is that not so, Madam?"
I have always been scared to bake bread but I now decided it was time to face that fear.There is nothing difficult about baking bread apart from elbow work -just mix,knead,sit back and let the yeast work its magic.
In this my first attempt at baking  bread,I felt like the apprentice witch,with a cynical conman, the thespian, looking over my shoulder while I looked for the magic spell ( flor de sal,Salmarim) that would make my breadsticks rise to the occasion and have a spellbinding effect on those who sampled them.Once bitten no sooner smitten.They were so easy to make;there is no stopping me now.My only advice would be to only make the amount you need on the day as they need to be eaten fresh.They are gorgeous when just baked and warm.They do keep but become crispy, so you need to think grissini rather than soft dough sticks, if you are keeping them for more than a day.
Next time onion breadsticks,spicy breadsticks,herby breadsticks,parmesan breadsticks.

Sea salt breadsticks
45 minutes
500g ciabatta mix or other strong bread flour
Olive oil
flour for dusting
Flor de sal flakes 2 tablespoons -assorted flavours, 
natural, pimentao, aromatica, azeitona

Heat the oven to 220C /428F  /Gas mark7.
Follow the pack instructions to make the bread dough,adding 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin olive oil at the start.
After the dough has doubled in volume, knead it again briefly,then flour your hands,work surface and rolling pin.Roll out the dough to the thickness of about 3.5mm.
Slice into long sticks about 1/2 cm wide.Lay on lightly oiled baking sheets and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until puffed up a little.Stretch them out if they have become too short and fat.Scatter with different flavours of sea salt, pressing the crystals on lightly.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.Cool on a wire rack.
makes about 30.

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