Bread Sticks

and fifteen-bean soup—perfect for dipping!

© 2011 by KV5R — Rev. Feb. 2, 2011.

It was February 1, 2011—the first day of the Big Freeze. Sunday it was 77, now it’s 18. Seems like a good time to make fifteen-bean soup. I’ve always liked dipping homemade bread into soups and stews, but there’s always the problem of sliced breads falling apart after you dunk’em. What’s needed are skinny breads with a soft crumb, but a very firm crust—homemade bread sticks! That shouldn’t be too hard to do…

Okay—so these aren’t really bread sticks—more like baguettes or batons. I just made’em this shape for dipping into my soup. I started with the dough logs laid out on a baking sheet, then I figured they’d run together so I separated then by folding a piece of parchment into a couche, and that worked quite well.

Warning: this article may cause hunger.

Procedure

  • Start a bag of Hurst’s HamBeens® soaking, several hours before.
  • Make a 3-cup batch of dough (1/3rd WW) and rise it some.
  • Shape the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle, about 9 by 13.
  • Cut it into 6 strips.
  • Form a 6-slot bread couche (or make one with with parchment) and lay it and dough sticks in a 9 by 13 cookie sheet.
  • Rise 2 hours, or ’til it looks about right.
  • Put a cake pan with 3 cups of water in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 375.
  • Bake 40 minutes at 375. Turn them over and bake another 10 minutes. We want the crust very firm but not cracklin-crisp.
  • Remove and cool.
  • Start beans cooking; cook 3 hours, then add 1 diced potato, 2 diced tomatoes, garlic, and several diced jalapenos and cook 1 more hour.
  • Serve in a big bowl with a broken bread stick. Yum!

The consistency of the crust is important. The breads should be breakable, but the crust should not shatter. Crusts that are shatter-hard tend to make a mess and cut the the palate. I was trying for a very firm crust, but not a very crispy one, so I overcooked the breads but steamed them throughout cooking. It worked! Perfectly!

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