Food Network Magazine has a section dedicated to their version and interpretation of famous recipes. In the June/July 2009 edition they took on the Olive Garden’s salad and breadstick recipes. I was super excited! In Canada, we have not had Olive Gardens around for a very, very long time. Their salad with breadsticks was my favourite thing on their menu, I have no idea how many times I ordered that before they closed. As a result, I was happy to take on this recipe challenge and I was thrilled with the results! Both were delicious and brought me back to hanging out at the Olive Garden with my high school friends. Here I will show you the technique for making the breadsticks. Mind you, it was with my Kitchen Aid Mixer but that ended up being a disaster. All that kneading with the paddle got my bowl stuck inside the mixer and I broke off the bottom part of the handle trying to get it out! Next time, I am using my breadmaker or my hands!
This was interesting, having the yeast proof in the bowl without sugar. I had not done that before! When you proof yeast, you want the water to be just above body temperature. So it should feel warm to you but not hot. If it is too hot, the yeast will die. Too cold, the yeast will not do anything but sit there. See how it is frothing a little? That’s a good thing!
Perhaps this would have turned out less tragic had I used the dough hook but the recipe does call for the paddle and I wanted to follow it perfectly.
I did some kneading by hand too! After you let the mixer bang away for five minutes, you knead by hand for three minutes which I could handle doing and the dough was so pretty! It is only me and my husband here so I did not need 16 breadsticks so I threw half the dough into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Now I have some for another time without hardly any work to do!
I only had to roll out the dough to one foot long since I was making half the recipe. Then I divided it into eight equal pieces by cutting it in half, then the other two pieces in half…
Rolling out those pieces until they were about seven inches, you then covered them to let them rise. My home is so chilly that sadly mine did not double in size but they did blossom in the oven just fine and oh so tasty! Before going in the oven they are brushed with butter and sprinkled with salt and when then come out, more salt and some herbs and garlic. So yummy!I hope this makes making your own breadsticks less intimidated. Oh and the salad? Fantastic! Super easy to make in the blender and you can make it the way you want. I held back on the peppers and went with spinach and spring greens since the bagged salads looked haggard. What a joy to have more happy memories with food that I had not been able to have for a long, long time. Thank you Food Network Magazine!