Bread Sticks

It is a mystery to me that people are so impressed if you make your own bread. I agree that, if you have a good baker, it is a fairly pointless activity but, as supermarkets have discovered, little can get the tastebuds working faster than the smell of fresh loaves.

One of the easiest recipes to get huge plaudits is Sally Clarke’s for breadsticks with Maldon salt and thyme. You knead 300g of strong bread flour and a pinch of salt with a small walnut of fresh yeast that has been dissolved in a teaspoon of olive oil and tablespoon of tepid water. Add this to the flour and then add more tepid water until the dough is firm but not sticky.

Knead for 10 minutes and leave, covered with cling film, in a warm place for an hour or until the dough is doubled. Turn it out, knead briefly with a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and make into cigar-shaped rolls. Paint with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon flakes. Leave for five minutes then bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes (until each base is hollow when tapped.) Turn out onto a cooling tray. Then eat with olive oil rather than butter.