Can we have a chat about what I especially love about the recipe I’m sharing with you today? I know I don’t need to tell you just how powerful melty, stringy, garlicky, herbed cheese is… Or how seductive chewy, crispy, oil-soaked bread is… I know that…
So I’m going to convince you that you need to make Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks by convincing you how absolutely simple the entire process is. I use homemade pizza dough. This No Knead Whole-Wheat Semolina Pizza Dough that I posted a while back, in fact, but you could use any favourite pizza dough to make this.
YOU CAN USE ANY PIZZA DOUGH. It’s a fact. I’ve used the Master Dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Oh, I do love Zoë and her bread dough innovations. The truth is, though, that you can walk into your nearest pizza place and ask for a ball of dough (which they will often sell you even if it’s not on the menu, go on… ask!) and it will turn out equally well.
Here’s the thing… We’re talking olive oil soaked crispy-yet-chewy breadsticks full of garlic, parsley, and Italian seasonings and absolutely sick with melted mozzarella cheese that has bubbled and toasted to the point where it has browned and crisped in places and become irrevocably stringy and seductive in other places.
Mercifully, in addition to the fact that you can use whichever pizza dough flicks your Bic, you can use the cheapest, easiest to find shredded, part-skim, low-fat mozzarella you can find at any corner convenience mart in your neighborhood. This includes ‘neighborhoods’ like mine, where you have to walk half a mile to find the nearest people. Really. I use the least-expensive-per-pound part-skim mozzie Wegman’s (My beloved Wegmans.) has to offer. See?
The key is to use an obscenely enormous amount of the grated mozzarella. I’m pretty sure, though, that I didn’t lose anyone by saying that, right?
It’s true. You COULD technically use less cheese, but with less cheese, you’d get less of this…
How sad would it be to get less of that, I ask you?
Now I have to sing the virtues of the two homemade pizza doughs I mentioned above. Yes, you can BUY the dough, but for the price of a big old bowl or bucket for the dough to sit in while it rises, and a few penny-a-pound ingredients, you can have enough dough sitting in your refrigerator to make eight batches of Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks. And what’s more, the dough can sit in your refrigerator for FOURTEEN DAYS, people. That’s two Monday night and two Sunday night football games in one batch of dough. Heck… Throw in a couple Thursday night football games to boot. Six finger food extravaganzas. If you’re not kickin’ it for all those football games, you can freeze the dough in single serve amounts and thaw them later. No one is going to complain that you have enough to make so much of this.
This cheesy bread is among my kids all-time favourite snacks along with soft pretzels and little sausages. What’s your top-three snack food list look like?
- 1 pound pizza dough, room temperature. I prefer this No-Knead Whole Wheat Semolina Pizza Dough, but you can use your favourite.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasonings
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the bottom of a rimmed baking pan, preferably an unglazed stone one. Stretch the pizza dough to approximately ½-inch thickness over the oiled pan. Scatter the minced garlic or garlic powder evenly over the dough, followed by the parsley and Italian seasonings. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the surface of the dough, then scatter the cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the outer edge of the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is fully melted, bubbly, and browned in places. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before transferring carefully to a cutting board.
- Cut into strips of desired size. I prefer approximately 3-inch by 1-inch strips. Serve warm or room temperature, plain or with dip of choice.
Are you looking for a giant bucket for mixing and raising your no-knead dough? This is my all-time favourite and I own two myself. (This is an Amazon.com affiliate link. If you click through and purchase, I receive a small commission which in no way effects the price of the item. Thank you!)
You’ll need to order a lid separately, which costs more than the bucket itself, but is pretty indispensable. It’s alright, though, I’ve had my bucket/lid combos for over five years and they’re still going strong!
If you were feeling thrifty, you could get two square buckets AND their lids for the price of one of the round ones, but I think stirring the dough up in a square bucket might make me feel a little cussy in my head. (And stirring doughs in the bucket is one of the joys of no-knead bread making. Only one dish to clean and you don’t have to clean it until after you have used up the dough!)