My daughter was born with lovely full cheeks and softness everywhere. I credit those cheeks to the chocolate shakes, and to these breadsticks.
We lived for a time in the basement of my aunt and uncle’s home, and one of my cousins would make these ridiculously good breadsticks. After we moved out, I just kept thinking of those breadsticks…my breadstick fantasies went on for months…and then finally I was smart enough to ask her for the recipe.
Smooth, dry breadsticks have never been my thing. But I love the airy, chewy pull-apart variety. Don’t be scared by the mayonnaise in the topping. It’s part of what makes these breadsticks so moist and flavorful. You can choose your favorite combination of cheese to put on top; I like any mixture of mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, and/or feta. You can also adjust the proportions and spices in the topping until you create your ideal breadstick.
One of the best parts about this recipe is that it’s easy to prepare, as breadsticks go. You don’t have to do any forming or twisting or rolling of individual breadsticks. Much like a focaccia bread, you just press the dough into a greased cookie sheet. Then you spread on the cheese topping, and use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice through the dough, forming breadsticks that you can pull apart when they are done.
Use these breadsticks as an indulgent side to any soup or salad—they’re perfect with this lasagna soup! If you’re really feeling indulgent, double the cheese topping on the breadsticks. The effect is amazing.
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 ½-4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup shredded cheese (any combination of cheese--parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, feta, etc.)
- Optional: other Italian spices as desired
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. When yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes) mix in the salt and 3 ½ cups flour. Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft, sticky dough that is just starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, combine the butter, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and any additional spices. Stir in the shredded cheese.
Grease or spray a rimmed baking sheet and your hands. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and use your oiled hands to press the dough out to the corners of the baking sheet. If the dough resists stretching far enough, let it rest for a couple minutes and then press it the rest of the way to the corners.
Spread the cheese topping over the dough.* With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough once lengthwise down the middle of the pan, and several times across the width of the pan. This is where the breadsticks will pull apart after baking.
Cover and let rise until almost double, 30-60 minutes.
Uncover and bake in an oven preheated to 400* for 12-17 minutes or until golden on top.
Let breadsticks cool slightly before gently pulling apart. Serve warm. These breadsticks are best the day they are made.
Makes about 16 breadsticks.
*If you're really feeling indulgent, double the cheese topping!