Bread Sticks

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Tonight was leftover night. I’m pretty diligent about making sure leftovers are used – either right away or put in the freezer for another night. The eggplant parmesan I made a while ago had about half of the tray left over, so it got wrapped and tucked into the freezer…for tonight, as it turns out.

Did you know that if you are reheating something with cheese on the top, if you put it in a pan with a cover and put a little bit of water in with it, it will reheat cheesy & gooey, not dry and crispy? I found this out a couple weeks ago and it’s been a revelation. The eggplant parmesan came out of the oven as good & cheesy as it was when I made it initially – that makes me very happy. I like crispy cheese edges but not crispy cheese tops – this bodes very well for leftover lasagna.

To go with the eggplant parm, I cooked some chicken thighs coated with panko crumbs and I made breadsticks. Oh, the breadsticks! I was a little bad and stuffed them with mozzarella cheese. They don’t have to be, but I wanted them to be, just for fun.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup + 2 TB warm water
  • 1-1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 3 TB unsalted butter, melted (I just used margarine and skipped the salt)
  • 1-3/4 tsp salt
  • 3-1/3 to 3-1/2 cups flour (about 16oz if you have a scale)

Topping:

  • 2 TB margarine (or butter)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ – 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (absolutely optional, but darn tasty)

Mix the water, yeast and sugar together and let the yeast bloom (it’s way better to find out now that your yeast isn’t active, than to add all your ingredients and time and find out then).

Add the salt, if you’re using unsalted butter. At low speed on your mixer (or your arm), mix in the flour, one cup at a time. Once it’s all in, increase the mixer (or arm) speed to medium and knead for seven (7) minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. My mixer is a beast and it only took 2 or 3 minutes for this to happen.

Oil a bowl, coat the dough ball and set it somewhere warm to rise until doubled – about an hour.

Push down the dough and portion into approximately even pieces….or be like me and weigh the whole works with a scale and divide by 12 to get almost exactly even pieces. I would be ashamed but symmetry pleases me.

Roll each of the portions into a ball then roll them out to about 5 inches long. I created a bit of a trough for the cheese down the centre of each of the sticks and filled with the cheese.

I used a block of mozzarella cheese and hacked off 12 pieces of about ½ an ounce each – excessive, I know, but I think I may have a bit of a love for cheese. Pretty sure that’s my dad’s fault. If you use shredded cheese, it could probably be considerably less per breadstick.

You do your breadsticks the way you like them – change the cheese, don’t add any cheese, fill with some jalapenos and cheese, fill with some banana peppers, fill with cream cheese & spinach, add some Parmesan cheese. Go crazy, that’s what cooking and baking is all about.

Seal the cheese in as best you can. I brought each end up and over the cheese, then sealed the seam over top of that and all down the middle, then gave it a bit of a roll to seal it. I thought I had them pretty well sealed, but I was incorrect – a couple of them leaked.

Cheese sticks all tucked in

Let these rise about an hour then bake at 400F for about 12 minutes. I was reheating the eggplant parm at the same time I ended up baking these, so they got baked at 350F for about 20 minutes.

As soon as they come out of the oven, grab the butter or margarine for the topping and baste it on. These are so hot, the butter didn’t need to be pre-melted. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and kind of a lot of garlic powder.

Bit of a cheeseplosion. I did sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on them.

If you don’t have garlic powder but you do have garlic salt, skip the salt sprinkle and just add the garlic salt.

I must admit I was hoping for more of a solid cheese middle so there would be crazy cheese strings but it was basically cheese lava with a couple of cheese strings. It tasted good, though, so that’s a nice trade-off, I think.

Look at that cheese string!

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