You would have thought that nearly eight years into our parenting journey that by now I would have learnt that I never ever have enough snacks in the house. When in the supermarket and asking myself how many packets of breadsticks or crackers I need to buy, I should always just put another packet in the trolley because it’s not like they won’t get eaten!

Squish and squash the dough

I came home from one blissful child-free trip to the supermarket happily thinking I had managed to get every single item on my list (a real achievement for a Falklands shopping trip), only to discover that I had neglected to add breadsticks to the list and our snack cupboard was rather empty. After putting the supplies away, I couldn’t contemplate another trip out to the supermarket. We had all the ingredients for breadsticks, so I decided we would make them instead. As an added bonus, this gave Ophelia and me an activity to do while the boys were in school. I never have to ask her twice if she wants to come and help with the cooking!

Carefully stretching it out.
Dividing the dough.

Making breadsticks may sound like a bit of a faff, but my kids really enjoy it. The highlights are kneading, rolling and stretching the dough out to make the long breadsticks. I am pretty sure Ophelia would have happily spent the morning playing with the dough and singing happy little songs had I let her. This recipe does carry a sticky fingers warning as it can get a bit messy. We did manage to spread the flour all over the kitchen surfaces and the floor, but this time Ophelia’s outfit remained uncharacteristically clean!

To make breadsticks you will need:

Making them into sausages
  • 190g bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 100ml warm water
  • 15g melted butter or margarine
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • Olive oil for coating
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  2. Using your hands, squish and squash the dough for 5-10 minutes. If your child is anything like mine, they might not want to stop and that point or they might ask for some initial help. This was a great opportunity to describe the texture and temperature of the dough.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a clean tea towel and let it rest at room temperature for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 160°c fan and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or baking parchment.
  5. Cut the dough in half with a table knife and then cut each half into 6 pieces. We managed to use this as good counting and adding practice.
  6. Gently stretch and roll each piece into a long sausage shape around 30cm long. Some of ours were longer than others.
  7. Brush them with a little olive oil.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.
  9. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

This article appeared in Penguin News on 17 July 2020.