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Olive Garden Bread…rolls

Who doesn’t love Olive Garden bread sticks?! Those fantastic things are often times the only reason I like going…that and their salad. Yum! I think these take a close 2nd to Pat & Oscar’s delicious bread sticks. If you’ve never had a chance to try the breadsticks from Pat and Oscar’s then get yourself over there this week! You can thank me later.

This bread stick recipe was once again inspired by a Pinterest recipe for Olive Garden Breadsticks. I decided to try these yesterday since it just felt like a bread making day! (originally posted by The Misadventures of Mrs. B but referenced by the following Chef in Training blog).

I decided that instead of making breadsticks I would make the recipe into little rolls. They make up quite a bit and I’m guessing if you use the dough for breadsticks you’re not going to get the 2 1/2 dozen I made up.

Another major plus to this recipe is how quick you’ll have fresh bread! I couldn’t believe that I only had  to knead once and then let it rise for an hour before baking them for 20ish minutes. Easy. If you’ve never made bread before, this is a great recipe to get started with.

I’ve made a bunch of different recipes for bread and I still have so much learning to do when making bread dough and working with active ingredients like yeast. One thing I would encourage you to have on hand is a thermometer. I know the quickest way to ruin your bread dough is not getting your water at the right temperature to activate the yeast or getting it too hot to kill the yeast. I’m sure someone out there could speak more science and purpose into that statement and also give you suggestions for assuring a good rise. Share your knowledge with me if you want, because bread is one of those things I would love to be really, really good at. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about different kinds of doughs and I’m still not turning out amazing bread. But, I’ve not given up just yet! I’ll keep passing on my wisdom as I learn and master the techniques.

Another reason I love making bread is that it doesn’t require too many ingredients to guarantee an awesome outcome. I think I get it in my head that you need oodles of ingredients on hand at all times if you want to be a skilled cook or baker. I don’t always have it in the budget to get the best ingredients so it’s comforting to know that some recipes just call for the basic pantry items we all have on hand! This novice cooks appreciates the simplicity of bread sometimes, especially when I’m in the mood to cook.

You only need a few ingredients to get going…AP flour (4.5 cups so make sure you’re not almost out) butter, salt, yeast, and sugar. The first thing you’ll want to do is get your yeast started. Each recipe I’ve made, gives different instructions for yeast, but here are three things I would suggest:

1. Read the yeast packet for instructions and then read your recipe and see what it suggests or requires. Sometimes it’s better to get the jar of yeast, but I like having the packets because 1 packet is usually all you need for one recipe.

2. Sugar is used to proof your yeast which takes about 10 min. Follow the packet or recipe to know how much sugar to add. You’ll know your yeast is doing it’s thing if your kitchen start smelling like yeasty bread! Proofing the yeast makes it foamy on top which is a good thing. The yeast is fueled by the sugar and that’s why it get’s like that….again, I don’t know all the science, but I’m sure Alton Brown has an episode of Good Eats that can fill in the blanks for me!

3. I mentioned it above, but have a thermometer, on hand to get the temperature of your water right before adding your yeast (read packet of yeast and recipe for tips on the right temperature range). I’ve made both mistakes with the water..too hot and killing it and too cool which does nothing to get it started. Proofing helps with the mystery of knowing whether the yeast is active so you don’t get an hour into your rising and realize it’s not doing anything. But to save some money on yeast, the thermometer is a nice thing to have on hand so you don’t have to throw anything out.

Now to make your dough, you’ll need to put your flour and salt in a bowl and make sure to melt your butter. Once your 10 minutes are up, your yeast should be ready to go. You can see in my picture that the once watery mixture has a foamy top to it now which is exactly what you’re looking for.

All ingredients can be dumped in with the flour and salt and the mixing can begin. They recipe suggests that you use a wooden spoon or paddles attachment on your mixer (what novice cook actually has a nice mixer?!…Well maybe it’s just me :0).

Here’s where my mistakes started…the recipe says not to over mix, which is what I was focused on preventing. However, I had bad luck getting the flour and salt mixture  incorporated into the dough which meant more mixing then was probably needed. The dough (sorry I don’t have a picture) was not soft but was already dense and tougher then I knew it needed to be. So, next time, I might do the combination process in reverse. Put the yeast and butter together and then gradually add the flour/salt mixture. I think that would have brought it all together better. My bread still turned out well, but it was not the fluffy texture I was hoping for. This is one of the reasons why bread can be so tough to make.

I went to lunch and came back so they had the chance to rise for a little more then an hour. They had not doubled like I was hoping, however, I’m sure if I had left them for another hour, that would have changed. If you have the extra 30 min or so to let them keep going, maybe give it a try and allow them more time to grow.

Our house is not the warmest place so I always use the oven to let the bread rise. I put it on warm or 170 degrees while I’m rolling out the dough and then turn it off before I put them in and cover them up. That gives bread a nice warm place to get started. If you do this, make sure to not leave the oven on. If the temperature gets too hot then the bread will go from raising to cooking. I’m always afraid that I’ll kill the yeast with a hot oven so I’m usually pretty careful on this step. Bread is easier to make in the summer since our house is a lot warmer, but you can get creative with how you let your bread rise  in a warm space.

The directions say to bake them for about 6/7 min and then take them out to brush the melted butter, garlic, and salt mixture on top. You’ll put them back in for 5/8 min before you take them out and top them with the rest of the buttery mixture.

Here they are cooling and ready to be eaten! They don’t look fluffy do they….hmmm. I will for sure to do this recipe again and try to get a fluffier version of the final product. I loved it because it was easy, if nothing else.

Tell me how it goes if you give it a try. I would love to hear from you bread making experts out there. Like I said, I have a lot to learn. I won’t even tell you about my potato roll experiment for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Again, they tasted pretty good, but they were too dense! One of these days I’ll figure it out…but I feel encouraged in moments like these that I didn’t name my blog…The Know-It-All Cook.

Enjoy, my small audience of readers, and happy cooking friends! 

Here is the recipe from the website.

HOMEMADE OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS
recipe from: Full Bellies. Happy Kids.

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 – 120 degrees F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, covered. Mixture should be frothy.In separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
Add to yeast mixture. Add melted butter. Mix with paddle attachment of stand mixer or wooden spoon until fully combined.
Knead dough for a few minutes just until dough is smooth. Do not overknead!
Grease a cookie sheet. Pull off pieces of dough and roll out into strips.
Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and once heated, pop in the bread sticks. In microwave, combine the following:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (or 1/2 cup margarine)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt

After bread sticks have cooked for 6 or 7 minutes, brush the bread sticks with half the butter mixture.
Then continue to bake. Bake for 5-8 more minutes.
Immediately upon removal from the oven brush the other half of the butter on the sticks.
Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating.

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