In case I haven’t bored on enough about it, I’m pregnant. Yes, I am with child, up the duff, bun in the oven, whatever you wish to call it. And it’s my third child. So all that lovely antenatal yoga, reading birth stories in Mother & Baby and buying up Clary Sage oil with hopeful glances has gone out the window. I’m a realist these days. I know what’s coming. I have prepared myself mentally for the sagging, ageing, eye bags, crying and bodily fluids. I’m all good with it. Honestly.
There is one thing I am not all good with. It’s the sex of Baby Bell #3. If one more person asks me if I’m hoping for a girl after two boys I may well stick a pink sparkly princess crown on their head and scream. I still stare in wonder at the assumption that birthing a girl baby automatically means a life of colouring in quietly, going for gentile afternoon teas together and shopping for pretty dresses. Gender assumes nothing. My sons loves afternoon tea, though they’re not keen on shopping for pretty dresses for me.
And with that I bring you sesame seed bread sticks. These are delicious, really moreish and easier than you might think. Do think about going off piste and adorning the sticks with chilli seeds, dukka, cumin, black pepper, salt…. whatever you fancy.
Sesame bread sticks
Makes 50 – 60, depends on the length and thickness
- 500g strong white bread flour (plus extra for rolling)
- 7g sachet easy blend yeast
- 7g salt
- 30mls olive oil
- 300mls luke warm water (you may need more of less depending on the brand of flour you use and the humidity in your kitchen)
- 1 egg yolk
- 20g sesame seeds
Mix the flour, yeast, salt and olive oil together in a large bowl, then add the water gradually until the mixture is a shaggy mess and is easy to pull together with your hands. Use your hands to knead until elastic looking and smooth, then place back in the bowl and cover in clingfilm. Leave to prove for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Once doubled, knock the dough back with your hands and then place on a well floured work surface. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough and roll with a rolling pin until about 1cm thick. Use floured scissors to cut the dough into strips about 1cm across then place onto baking sheets prepared with greaseproof paper, about 2cm apart. Once all the dough is cut brush gently with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then bake in a preheated oven at 200C/gas mark 6 until golden brown and no longer doughy to touch. They should make a snap sound when broken in two. The bake time all depends on how thick you cut the bread sticks – for 1cm ones about 10 – 12 minutes, turning half way, for fatter ones like the picture this takes a little longer. Cool on a wire rack.
These keep in an air tight tin for 2 weeks if baked until properly dried out.
NB: The other way of rolling the bread sticks, which results in altogether chubbier cousins as per the photo, is to roll pieces of dough onto an oiled work surface into sausages, a bit like you might make snakes when using plasticine. It is harder to make thin bread sticks this way though.
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