24 May 2010

But these are store-bought, aren't they?

Last Thursday, 'the boys' were coming over for a pen and paper rpg evening. Most unusually, I had a little surplus time on my hands and I was eager to bake something.

So I grabbed my old, trusty cheese cracker recipe, threw away all parts of the recipe that would have needed my attention and added some bacon. Everything gets better with bacon, I'm sure you can relate to that.
Basically, I mixed up the least fancy, swiftest breadsticks I have ever made, and had a historic succes with them. I am still a little stunned at how well received they were.

Take, for example, one of our friends. He tried one, and after having been a little dumbfounded at how much of our food we actually make ourselves he asked:

"But these are store-bought, aren't they?"

"Nope. Made them this afternoon."

"I feared as much. But they're so... regular, and so... damn tasty."

As you can imagine, we had a lively laugh. Though, maby not as lively as the following day, when my father-in-law got caught eating several of them at the same time, looking rather embarrassed, claiming I was trying to drug him.

I personally blame the bacon. This is a yeasted dough with a very high butter content, leading to a structure that is pretty much halfway between bread and shortbread cookies. Ununsual, but very, very good. Try them, they sure have the best effort to compliments ratio I can imagine.

Cheese and Bacon Breadsticks (dirt simple version)
(makes about two dozen sticks)

250g all-pupose wheat flour
100g whole-wheat flour (German type 1050)
125ml lukewarm water
125g butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 pinch of sugar

100g cheese, finely grated (I used aged Peccorino)
125g bacon

Take all the ingredients for the dough and mix until just combined. Leave to rest for about an hour.

In the meantime, chop the bacon as finely as you can be bothered to. Put into a small pot or non-stick pan and fry until just golden, not crisp. Leave to cool.

After the dough has rested, add the cheese and the bacon and knead one last time until all ingredients are well combined. Transfer to a large bowl and give a set of 'stretch and folds'.

Leave to rest for half an hour, then add another set of 'stretch and folds'.
Even despite the high fat contend, the dough should be elastic and nicely workable by now. If not, give another half hour of rest and one last set of 'stretch and folds'. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Leave to rest for one last half hour, then turn the dough onto a lightly floured working surface. Roll into a rectangle about half a centimetre thick. Cut into strips about one centimetre wide.
Of course, you could now roll them up or give them any number of fancy shapes, but there wasn't much time and I really wanted something as simple as I could get away with.

Transfer onto baking sheets lined with non-stick paper and leave to rest for a final, ten-minute proof.

Bake the bread-sticks with a little steam for about 15-20 minutes or until well browned.
This yields sticks that will be cripy in parts, chewy in others. For entirely crispy sticks reduce the temperature to 190°C and add 5 minutes. 

Leave to cool on a rack.

Goes well with beer and almost everything else, keeps nicely for a few days and can be crisped up again flawlessly in a hot oven.

P.S.: And once more, this post wil be sent to the YeastSpotting section of Susan's formidable blog Wild Yeast, a home baker's resource I can hardly recommend too much.


Tia said...

I love the ease of these. They look totally delish.
just a question - you said they have a lot of butter but I can't see any butter in the recipe... maybe i'm missing something?

Thanks!!! I would love to make them this weekend.

Reuben Morningchilde said...

OMG! I forgot the butter! *facepalm* Thanks so much for pointing this out to me, and so sorry for the mistake. I had my wife check the listed ingredients now, just to make sure I haven't overlooked something else.
And yes, they are dead simple to make, it's just that the time needs enough rest. Thanks once again!

Delishhh said...

I have been following your blog for awhile and think it is great. I really like this post. What a great idea. I am always looking for snacks when people are over and this is just a fabulous idea. Thanks for posting.

Roma Berry said...

Can't wait to try these. They sound easy to prepare and should please any gathering. Also want to try the buttery snails..
Thanks for sharing your kitchen!

Delishhh said...

Congratulations you just got my award! http://delishhh.com/?p=1462

Reuben Morningchilde said...

@Delishhh - Thanks for the flowers, dear, and for the award. I'm still feeling a little bit overrun, but I am so happy my blog is something other people (besides me and my folks) actually read.

@Roma - I've to thank you for looking into my kitchen! These breadsticks really are dead simple to make, and don't require much hands-on time. Only thing they need is a little time to proof, but in a busy kitchen there's always time for that, isn't there?

Faye said...

Hello! I just want to let you know I like your blog. I just browsed through some of the recipes and they all look tasty. I will definitely visit again and try some of them.

Reuben Morningchilde said...

@Faye - Thanks so much for the kind words!If ever you try any of the recipes, please let me know. I'd really be interested if they work out for anyone I didn't explain everyting to in person. Glad you like it!