The original email (left) and the online recipe (right) Note the opening line: “If you've ever enjoyed soft bread sticks at Pizza Hut, you'll recognize these”.
To begin at the beginning. One of my dad’s guilty pleasures is Pizza Hut. He likes the pizza there and he LOVES the bread sticks. So does my mom actually, but my dad is the one who takes it the farthest. When given a choice of where he’d like to go for Father’s Day or his birthday if he could eat anywhere, several times he has picked Pizza Hut. Now one of the places he could go to eat is my house where I’d make him anything he wanted. Now I could pretend to be hurt, but honestly I like the breadsticks too and I get to visit with both my parents more this way than when I am cooking something.
Simple prep and simple ingredients: All-purpose flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, water & some Italian seasoning to top the dough. The ingredients are mixed with a mixer for 2 minutes and placed in a 1/2 sheet plan coated with olive oil.
So fast forward to the present: I make grilled pizza for my parents to rave reviews this past Saturday ( see PIZZA PERFECTION blog entry). One of the comments I got was the only thing I was missing was the breadsticks. To be honest, I’d been thinking along those same lines too. Now they couldn’t be just any breadsticks, they needed to be like Pizza Hut bread sticks. Even without the breadsticks my dad was already sounding like this Father’s Day was to be at Pizzeria Jim’s. I wanted to surprise him with breadsticks.
The dough has risen for and hour (left) and gets topped with the Italian seasoning (right).
Imagine my total surprise and delight when 3 days later on Tuesday I get a weekly email from King Arthur flour whose subject was “The fastest, easiest breadsticks you’ll ever bake”. It got even better and spookier when I read further “If you've ever enjoyed soft bread sticks at Pizza Hut, you'll recognize these.” It went on to say they could be ready in 90 minutes with only 10 minutes of actual prep time. All I can say is the Cooking Gods must owe my father one. The whole timing of this was very strange. I was psyched, I had all of the ingredients on hand and had the 1/2 sheet pans you bake them in. I didn’t wait for the weekend or even the next day. I decided to make them that very night to accompany the GRILLED VEGGIE SOUP I’d made that day. I’ll put the recipe link is at the end of this blog in case it interests others as much as it did me.
The bread sticks are cut apart and are cooling. For crispier bread sticks you can lay them back on the sheet pan on their sides put them back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes.
The recipe really was quite simple, a few simple ingredients, a very quick 2 minute blend with the mixer and the dough is placed (poured is more like it) in the sheet pan and spread out to the edges. The dough was supposed to be soupy but mine was even more so. I realized after the fact that I didn’t put in quite enough flour. This explained the soupiness as well as my not getting quite the rise I should have. You pre slice the dough with a pizza cutter and let it rise for an hour. The dough gets sprinkled with olive oil and some Italian seasoning and it is off to a 375 degree (190 C) oven for 25 minutes. At this point you can cut them apart using a pair of Kitchen shears and eat them or place them individually back on the sheet pan on their sides and crisp them up for another 5 or 10 minutes.
I’d heated up some marinara sauce for dipping and it turns out the veggie soup tasted even better as the dipping sauce.
Where I didn’t get quite the rise I expected due to my mixing miscalculation, I didn’t think I could lay the bread sticks on their side without them wanting to fall over. Besides the smell in the Kitchen had me wanting them, and wanting them now. So how were they? In a word: Great. I was told this first run was already better than Pizza Hut. I am not ready to say that just yet, but I am close. I need to make sure I use the right amount of flour next time and I will top them with some cheese too. Then I should really have something. The second piece of destiny that day was that these breadsticks were perfect with the grilled veggie soup. In fact we stopped dipping them in the marinara sauce I had heated for the occasion and started dipping them in our veggie soup. they were made for each other.
The flexible grids allow you to put loose items of various thickness in the same grill basket.
So yes this was a bit if a diversion from grilling and smoking topics, but I had to write about it because it was such a strange coincidence. I mean I start thinking about trying to find a way to make Pizza Hut style breadsticks and 3 days later a recipe for that same thing drops in my lap. How weird and wonderful is that? Just like I had to make them immediately, I had to write about them too.