I remember the first time ever that I had dinner at Olive Garden at their location near Ahwatukee, Az. I was awestruck by the soft, simple pillows of salty bread sticks and their famous piping hot minestrone soup filled with red beans, green beans, tomatoes and baby pasta shells. We always loved the salad that came with the entree and many times I remember feeling almost full with just the pre-starters. Another all time favourite at Olive Garden is their Eggplant Parmigiana which Th loves and which I make at home pretty often. I had always wanted to try out the soft bread sticks at home earlier, It’s now a regular after school snack but I have never been able to have a basket of them left, enough to style and shoot!!! Try these pillows of salty niceness at your home and enjoy it with a dip or by itself!
3 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour.
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp Warm Water.
1 1/2 Tsp active dry yeast.
3 Tbsp Butter / Olive Oil.
2 Tbsp sugar.
1 3/4 Tsp – 2 Tsp Salt levelled.
Garlic Herb Topping:
1 Tsp Garlic Powder.
1 Tsp Salt.
1/2 Tsp Basil/ Oregano/ Herbs De Provence. (Optional)
Mix the salt, garlic powder and herbs and set it in a dry place.
- In a bowl add 1/2 Tsp sugar, the water which is slightly warm and mix it well before adding the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof and make sure its active. (Else, throw this mix and restart with fresh yeast.). Let is sit for about ten minutes.
- Now add the remaining 1 Tbsp + 2 1/2 Tsp Sugar, 1 3/4 Tsp Salt, the 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Canola, and 1 1/2 Cups of the flour. Use the paddle attachment in the stand mixer and incorporate all the ingredients together. If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hands.
- Now use the dough hook attachment and pour in the remaining 1 1/2 Cups of flour and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but is still a wee bit sticky. If you need to, add a little of the 1/4 cup of flour to achieve the desired consistency.
- Oil the insides of a large bowl and place the ball of dough and smear oil on it. Cover with a dry kitchen cloth and fasten a rubber band to hold it in place.
- Set aside for about 1 1/2 hours undisturbed until the ball doubles in size.
- Grease two cookie sheets with oil and keep ready.
- Punch the dough to remove all the air and divide in to twelve parts of all similar size.
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll in to thin rope of about 8-9 inches.
- Arrange on the cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 425F (roughly 220C).
- Bake for 11-13 minutes until you see a golden crust on the bread sticks.
- Remove from the oven and brush it with a stick of butter or margarine and immediately sprinkle the salt/garlic powder/herb mixture on the bread sticks.
- Serve warm bread sticks with a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup.