Saturday, July 02, 2005

Twisted Fennel and Coarse Salt Breadsticks

Twisted Fennel and Coarse Salt Breadsticks

1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk (no more than 110 degrees)
3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk in a bowl. Leave for 5-10 minutes to activate yeast. Stir in olive oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8-10 minutes and add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands - the dough should feel tacky. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 24 equal portions. While working with 1 piece at a time, cover remaining portions to prevent drying. Shape each piece into a 9-inch rope. Twist two ropes together; pinch ends to seal. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover dough, and let rise about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425

In a small bowl, whisk egg white and water together. Combine fennel seeds and kosher salt in another bowl. Brush the breadsticks with egg white mixture, and sprinkle evenly with fennel seed mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

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