Fake Olive Garden Breadsticks

I’m assuming most of my UK friends have never had the pleasure of going into an Olive Garden. Essentially it’s an Italian (American) restaurant chain, and it serves a delicious array of pastas, pizzas, and other Italian style food. Oh, and they have free garlic bread, salad and soup. FREE. You know how they say there’s no such thing as free lunch? Think again, fool!

Americans, you’ll laugh at me for this, but I bloody love Olive Garden. Whenever I go to the US, you can be sure it’s my first port of call for dinner. I once considered trekking across Boston in a blizzard to get my hands on some of their delicious warm garlic breadsticks… but now I don’t have to.

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I basically used this recipe, so all credit to the author. But, I did add a couple of British twists, to make it easier for UK bakers to understand. Also, I used a bread machine for making the dough by putting it on the “dough” setting, which makes life a bit easier. Of course, you can do it without one, but it just requires a bit more effort.

Ingredients
For the dough
260ml warm water
1.5 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp granulated (or caster) sugar
3 tbsp melted unsalted butter, mixed in with 1 tsp garlic puree
1.75 tsp salt
400g bread flour

For the topping

3 tbsp melted butter
1tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method

If you’re using a bread machine, put all the ingredients into the mixer and set it to “dough” setting. This mixes, kneads, and allows the dough to rise, so once this finishes, all you need to do is shape the dough as outlined below, leave it for another hour, then put it in the oven.

If you aren’t using a bread machine, though, here’s what you need to do.

In a large bowl, mix in the water, melted butter, yeast, and sugar. Then, add the salt, and start mixing. Add the flour in small additions until your dough is ready to knead, then knead for seven minutes until squidgy and pliable. It should be smooth and elastic. Oil your bowl, then cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1.5 hours.

Once this is done, roll out your dough into a big log, and divide into 12 equal portions. I tend to just cut it up roughly equal, but you can put them on a scale as well, if you’re a bit OCD. Then, roll these into 7 inch logs on a lightly floured/oiled surface. Okay, I did use a tape measure here, because I don’t know what 7 inches looks like (no innuendos please, but true story bro)…

Put these onto a greased and lined baking tray, and leave to rise in a warm place for another hour.

Once this is done, preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (or 190 fan). Put the bread in here and bake for 12 mins. In the final two minutes, mix up your salt and garlic powder. Melt your butter and add the herbs.

Take your bread out of the oven and brush immediately with the melted herby butter with a pastry brush. Sprinkle over the garlicy salt and eat while they’re still warm.

I ate four, and then had two more cold for lunch today. Also worked out this biscuit tin makes for excellent bread storage.

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