Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Garlic bread sticks (Olive Garden style) with water-roux (Tangzhang)

Unfortunately, it is my turn to get the flu here. Today is the second/third day of it. I have had a lot of help and attention in the style of "Mr. Large in-charge" from Anjalie and Naz here. By now I felt that I can no longer expect them to do everything around the house. In fact, I myself was getting tired of those canned supermarket soups! So I decided to make my own soup and my personal favorite, minestrone, for dinner tonight. While we lived in the USA, Naz & I used to frequent the Olive Garden chain of restaurants. I loved their minestrone soup and garlic breadsticks. So I decided to make their style of garlic breadsticks to go with my soup tonight. Recently, you might have noticed, I have had great success with water-roux in achieving soft rolls, buns and bread. So, naturally, I used water-roux to give these bread- sticks/rolls the soft texture. I had to rush a bit since it is a weekday and I tried to get some work done from home in a bid to avoid spreading my flu to my colleagues. This meant setting the bread machine to finish the dough cycle at around 5 pm with a plan on getting dinner ready by 7:30 pm (barely enough time)!! But the garlic bread turned out great -golden brown top, soft insides with a chewy bite just the way we remember the Olive garden garlic breadsticks used to be. Anjalie loved it too as well. So a definite keeper that will please the entire family. Bread flour works out best for this recipe. But you can make it with plain/all purpose flour too. Here is the recipe I used...

You will need:
For water roux (Tangzhang):
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water
For the garlic bread sticks:
4 cups unbleached white bread flour
1.25 (scant) cups of lukewarm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp melted butter (for spreading on top after baking)
1 tbsp olive oil/butter ( I like the flavor of olive oil in my bread sticks)
1.5 tsp instant active dried yeast
1 tbsp garlic salt granules/powder

Prepare the water roux as shown in here but with the ingredients measure given in the "For watre roux" list.  This water roux is considered a liquid ingredient.

Place all the liquid ingredients (including olive oil if using) in the bread pan of your bread machine. Sprinkle the flour over the liquids to cover them completely. Place butter, milk powder, sugar and salt in the four corners of the bread pan. Make a shallow indentation in the middle and place the yeast. Set the bread machine for basic dough setting.

If hand kneading, knead until you have a slightly sticky but smooth dough. This dough tends to be more sticky than normal bread dough. Cover and set it to raise for 1-1.5 hrs until doubled. After the raise time, turn the dough on a floured surface and divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Shape the dough into sticks/rolls/buns or whatever shape you like.

I did 12 rolls in a muffin pan and 4 rolls of garlic bread sticks in Olive Garden style (like batons). This is because I know that Anjalie likes burger type rolls. If the dough is too sticky to handle use as little flour as possible to dust the surface and help you shape. Cover and let raise again for 45 mins to 1 hr. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.

When ready, bake for 20-25 mins in the middle rack of the oven until golden brown on top. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil and cook for the rest of the time. Turn them on to a wire rack. Spread the melted butter on the rolls/bread-sticks when still hot and sprinkle garlic salt granules/powder.

Serve warm with salad or soup or as part of your dinner/lunch.

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