My advice for successful bread baking is to first read through the entire recipe at least once to make sure you understand the techniques and process involved. Make sure to take note of rising times and allow enough time to make the bread. It is very disappointing to have dinner ready but the bread is still rising! With baking, you also want to use the ingredients called for and make sure you measure. Baking it a science and things need to be pretty close to exact for the best results. You also want to make sure your ingredients are fresh (or at least not outdated). And lastly, I would say that if you are on a diet, don't make homemade bread!! Homemade bread can ruin a diet in an instant- it's so hard to resist!! :-) Just look at this light, airy, buttery breadstick....yum!
2 packages active dry yeast (I used 4 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm water (110 degrees), divided
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tbsp sugar in 1 cup warm water. Let this sit for about 10 minutes until frothy.
2. Add the oil, egg, salt , 2 cups flour, remaining sugar and remaining water. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6-8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease dough. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
**When I am making the dough, I turn heat the oven to 170. When the dough is ready for the rise, I turn the oven off and put the covered dough in the oven. It usually takes roughly 20 minutes for the dough to double**
3. Punch the dough down (the kids like doing this part). Turn onto a floured surface and divide into 36 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6 inch rope. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (I use a convection oven and it was closer to 9-10 minutes). While they are baking, mix the butter, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. When you remove the breadsticks from the oven, brush them with the butter mixture.
** You can of course use butter alone, butter and salt or whatever suits your tastebuds**