This simple breadstick recipe felt tricky for me to develop. After all, the expectations were fairly high since my children love a certain food chain—ehem, Olive Garden!—that offers unlimited warm breadsticks. My goal was to make a super-soft breadstick that pairs well with almost any meal, reheats well, and is slightly elevated from the restaurant version. I think I nailed it if I do say so myself. Now my kids request these homemade breadsticks regularly, and I’m generally happy to oblige. Then, I snag one every time I walk by them. They are impossible to resist!
The One Kitchen Tool That Elevates My Baking
It’s important for you to know the skill of the baker that wrote the recipe: I’m not an expert baker. It has never been my forte and baking causes me the most grief. But I like the challenge! One trick that truly does make baking easier for me: Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients.
Seasoned and professional bakers know this and don’t often mention it because it’s second nature for them. If a recipe calls for a cup of flour, it could weight 4 ounces for me and 5 ounces for you depending on how it’s measured. Big difference! So, if you want to be less frustrated with baking, weigh your ingredients.
How to Knead and Proof the Breadsticks
This dough is pretty forgiving. You can make it in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or by hand—the dough kneads easily. It’ll take about 10 minutes by hand. I convince myself that it's a workout. After you knead it, do the windowpane test. Pinch the dough with your fingers and slowly stretch it to create “a windowpane.” If light can pass through it without tearing, it’s ready. It means enough gluten has formed and the dough is ready.
Proof the dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap until it doubles in size. For me that’s about 90 minutes, but it depends on the temperature in your kitchen.
The Trick to Soft Breadsticks
The trick to soft breadsticks is to bake them in a steamy moist environment. I do this by preheating my oven to 425˚F. A few minutes before I bake the breadsticks, I pour about 4 cups of boiling hot water into an oven-safe baking dish and place it on the bottom rack. This creates steam in the oven.
Garlic Butter Elevates the Breadsticks
To kick my breadsticks up a notch, I make a simple garlic butter to brush on the breadsticks right when they come out of the oven. The butter soaks right in, providing moisture and tons of flavor. It’s so delicious!
How to Plan Ahead
You can make the dough and freeze it. When you’re ready to bake the breadsticks, thaw it slowly in the fridge the day before. Shape the dough and proceed with the recipe.
Another option? Bake the breadsticks, cool them, freeze them, and then store them in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Reheat the frozen breadsticks in a 350˚F oven until they are warmed through.
Bread, Perfect for Sharing
Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks
For the breadsticks
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/2 cups (425g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, for the bowl
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
4 cups boiling water, for baking
For the garlic butter
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Proof the yeast:
In a large bowl, stir the water and honey. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes until it dissolves and bubbles up. Add the melted butter and salt and stir.
Make the dough:
Add the flour and use a spoon to stir until it forms a rough ball. Transfer the dough to a clean counter surface and knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes until it’s smooth and shiny.
Do the windowpane test: pinch the dough with your fingers and slowly stretch it to create “a windowpane.” If light can pass through it without tearing, it’s ready. It means enough gluten has formed and the dough is ready. If the dough tears, continue kneading for a minute longer, then check again.
If at any point the dough sticks to the counter and your hands, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
You can make the dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead it for 5 to 6 minutes on medium-low speed until it passes the windowpane test.
Proof the dough:
Grease the same large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough and turn in the bowl to coat with some oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.
Shape the breadsticks:
Punch the dough down with your fist and transfer it onto your counter. Divide it into 12 even pieces. I prefer to weigh them to ensure even sizing—about 57 grams each.
Roll each breadstick against the counter until it is 6 to 7 inches long and smooth. Transfer them onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Set a rack in the center and one in the bottom third. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. You’ll need it to bake the breadsticks.
3 minutes before you bake the breadsticks, pour the 4 cups of boiling water into an oven-safe 8- or 9-inch baking pan and place it on the bottom rack. This will create steam in the oven while the breadsticks bake.
Bake the breadsticks for 14 minutes, turning the baking sheet once halfway through.
Meanwhile, make the garlic butter:
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, parsley, and garlic powder. As soon as breadsticks come out of the oven, brush them with it.
Serve the breadsticks:
Allow the breadsticks to cool slightly, then serve warm.
Leftovers reheat well. Pop them in a 325˚F oven for just a few minutes until warmed through. In a pinch you can also microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||12%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||25%|
|Total Carbohydrate 31g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|