Skip to main content

Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

When it comes to yeast, there are two kinds you need to be most aware of as a home baker.  Instant and Active Dry.  Honestly, they can be basically interchanged in recipes, HOWEVER, if you work with Active Dry, you HAVE to dissolve it in some warm liquid first.  Instant, (also sometimes called rapid-rise or quick-rise yeast), can be mixed straight in with the other dry ingredients.  I like instant yeast the best, and find I get the most consistent results with it, but you do you.  Just know that my recipes are made and tested with instant yeast.  

I was always told to pick one kind of yeast and learn to cook with it because you will become familiar with how it works and I have definitely found that to be true.  I do like to bloom my instant yeast every time I use it, just to make sure it's going to work before I put all the effort in to the recipe, so the majority of my yeast recipes will have you add the yeast to warm liquid at the beginning and let it sit for a couple of minutes, just so I can make sure it gets a bit bubbly before I add everything else.

You can get instant yeast in big 2lb packages at Sam's or Costco for around $4-$5 which gives you ten times more than you get at the grocery store in that little jar for around $8!  I get mine from Sam's Club and it comes in two separate airtight 1lb packages which I love.  I empty one of the packages in to a mason jar and keep it in the refrigerator to use, then the other package stays sealed and goes in the freezer.  That is one of the biggest tips for storing yeast - keep unopened packages in the freezer, because it basically puts the yeasts life on pause so it lasts way past the expiration date!  When you are ready to use it, just pull it out and fill your mason jar and throw it in the refrigerator.

I love, love, love making homemade bread.  I didn't even ever attempt making bread before we moved to Utah, but once I started I found that there is something very therapeutic about making bread and then smelling it bake all through the house.  The more I cook with yeast, the more comfortable I get with it and I could honestly kick myself for waiting so long to try it.  

These breadsticks are our favorite thing to eat with Fettuccine Alfredo topped with crispy chicken, a meaty spaghetti bolognaise or a bowl of our favorite soup. They are simple to throw together, very forgiving, and make us feel like we are sitting in our favorite Italian restaurant!  They are soft and fluffy and absolutely delicious smothered in the garlic and oregano seasoned melted butter.  (Try dipping them in some cheese sauce or Alfredo sauce for an extra treat.)   This is my go-to breadstick recipe and will become a family favorite for you too!  Don't worry about shaping them perfectly.  The rustic shapes are what make them beautiful and fun!

Dough Ingredients:
1 cup very warm water
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups AP flour
3 Tbsp softened butter
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp salt

Before baking:  2 Tbsp melted butter

After baking topping, (mix together the following):
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder (can add up to 1/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp dried oregano

In your mixing bowl, add the warm water, stir in the yeast and sprinkle the sugar on top and let sit for 3 minutes.  Add 3-1/4 cups flour, softened butter, the egg, and salt and stir to lightly combine.  Using the dough hook, let the bread knead in your mixer for about 5 minutes.  (You can add up to another 1/4 cup of flour as needed, but it should look slightly sticky and not quite pull away from the bottom of the bowl.  Don't worry, it will rise beautifully!)  Pull the dough in to a ball with a spatula, spray the bowl lightly around and under the dough with nonstick cooking spray.  Cover with saran wrap and a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.  

Punch your dough down, then dump it on to a lightly floured surface.  Knead a couple of times, then divide the dough in to 16 equal size pieces.  Roll each piece in to an 7-8 inch breadstick.  Place the breadsticks on two baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper, (8 on each.)  Drape a towel over the top of each baking sheet and let the breadsticks rise another 1/2 hour until they puff up a bit.  

Before baking, brush each breadstick gently with melted butter, then bake at 400 for 11-12 minutes or until golden brown.  

When the breadsticks come out of the oven, immediately brush them with the topping and move to cooling racks.  Sprinkle with a little extra oregano if you like.  Serve warm.  

*Note:  You can reheat breadsticks if you wrap them in foil and heat in a 325 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until they are warmed through. 


Popular posts from this blog

Cheesy Funeral Potato Casserole

One of my families most favorite side dishes are these ooey, gooey, creamy, cheesy potatoes.  They are often referred to as "funeral potatoes" here in Utah, but I usually just refer to them as cheesy potatoes  because it sounds less morbid.  (Though they are to die for!)   I have had many different kinds of "funeral potatoes" in my lifetime but this is by far my favorite and one of my most requested recipes.  I have been making these this way since my hubby and I got married and have never changed the recipe.  They are requested for EVERY family gathering we have, and I usually have to take at LEAST two pans.  Even when I take in dinner to friends or family, there is a 95% chance they are getting ham and these because I have yet to meet someone who doesn't love them.  These cheesy potatoes are full of shortcuts including using a bag of frozen southern style hash browns so you don’t have to chop up all those potatoes!! Just mix everything together, dump in a

Instant Pot Turtle Cheesecake

It has been instant pot cheesecake world in my house for the past couple of weeks and believe me, no-one is complaining.  My hubbies favorite cheesecake has always been turtle, so I thought, why not?  Let's change up the crust and topping and see how it turns out!  How it turned out was that this is his FAVORITE flavor thus far.  (Not to mention it looked pretty impressive.) I'm telling you, instant pot cheesecake is my favorite texture cheesecake.  I don't know that I will be able to buy store bought ever again.  The number of flavor combinations you could do with this base is unlimited.  (Think any kind of fresh fruit, pie filling, baking chips, nuts - what couldn't you do?) As always, remember that it is super important to have room temperature ingredients.  This helps the cheesecake be smooth and creamy and NOT grainy!  Also, you don't want to over mix the cheesecake batter once you are adding in eggs, so beat it as smooth as you can with the other ingred

Sweet Cream Pancakes (Copycat Black Bear)

I don't know what it is about Black Bears pancakes that make them so much more delicious than most pancakes, at least I didn't know until I did a little digging and and found out they are what they call "sweet cream" pancakes!  Have you ever tried sweet cream pancakes?  They are made with heavy cream which gives them a light, fluffy texture with golden edges that just melt in your mouth.   I've never met anyone who doesn't love a good pancake.  It's perfect for a crowd as you can just get out a big griddle and set out all kinds of different toppings to make it fun.  These are my families favorite and we love sprinkling them with pecans, chopped bananas and pure maple syrup, or serving them with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.  You do you though!  The possibilities are endless!! My daughter, Dee, was very skeptical that we could recreate such deliciousness at home, but we both felt like this recipe absolutely nails it.  Black Bear likes to make their

Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomato Puff Pastry Tartlets

Sometimes I want to feel like I'm eating fancy, but not put in a ton of effort.  These goat cheese and roasted tomato puff pastry tartlets are SO easy and SO tasty!!!!  You get the crisp of the puff pastry, the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese, the juiciness of the tomatoes and the herbaceousness of the basil all in one delicious bite.  Take my advice and don't skimp on the goat cheese, (you can use plain or herbed... for me the more flavor, the better.)  If for some strange reason you don't like goat cheese, (yes, there are people who don't), try substituting whipped cream cheese, mascarpone or ricotta. Ingredients: 1 sheet puff pastry dough 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water Red & yellow cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half.  (A minimum of 12 of each color.) 1 tsp olive oil Salt & Pepper Goat cheese Dried thyme Fresh basil, cut in to strips Preheat the oven to 400.  Unroll your pastry dough and cut in to 24 equal squares.  (6 cuts along th


Layers of rich chocolate, gooey caramel and buttery oats... Caramelitas are one of my families favorite cookie bars.  They are so easy to make and so gungy delicious, it's hard to stop eating them.  You can actually half this recipe and put it in an 8x8 pan if you prefer not to make so many, but I love to make this in a big 9x13 pan and share with the neighbors.  Seriously, you can't go wrong with this caramel and chocolate treat.   These bars get even better the longer they sit, so it is better to make them the night before you want to serve them and just cover them with a small, clean towel once they have cooled a bit.  I know, I know... how are you supposed to resist eating them?  Trust me... they are worth the wait! Ingredients: 2 (11oz bags) *Kraft caramel bits (in the baking aisle) 1 cup whipping cream 2 cups quick cooking oats 2 cups brown sugar 2 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted butter 2 cups semi sweet choc

Toll house Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

The only way I can describe this pie is "a little slice of heaven."  This is the first pie I ever made for my hubby when we got married because how can you go wrong as a new bride with chocolate chips and chopped nuts in a pie topped with cream?  It is so deliciously rich and decadent, but sooooooooooo incredibly easy to make. I got this recipe from  Nestle Toll House  years ago, in fact the original recipe was a cut out from somewhere and stuck on a piece of paper in a make shift recipe box because there were no recipe websites back then!  I knew when I saw this recipe that it was something I had to try and that it would be something my hubby would love because he LOVES warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies.  I was not wrong in my assumptions.  This pie is definitely as good as you think it's going to be.  A flaky crust, gooey filling and slightly crispy top makes it heavenly! Ingredients: 1 unbaked pie shell, (you can use a store bought or your favorite recipe OR t

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Now this is not the kind of meal you make every week.  It's the kind of meal you make when you just need complete comfort food.  I have been making homemade mac and cheese for years now and I always make it exactly the same, but for some reason I decided to switch it up a little bit this last time and make a couple of tweaks.  All I can say is WOW... we were in gooey cheese heaven, so here is my new and improved recipe with a few tweaks from my original.  It is hands down the best mac and cheese I have ever made. The family agreed. Note:  If you want to add in some different cheese, feel free to switch out 8oz of the cheese in the sauce for your favorite.  My two favorites are Gouda or Gruyere and if I have one of those on hand I will use 8oz of one of those, replacing half the sharp cheddar in the sauce. 18-24oz of your favorite pasta, (penne, cellentani and rigatoni are our favs) 1 stick butter  (8 Tbsp) 4 Tbsp cornstarch 4 cups milk 16oz sharp cheddar ch

Copycat Lipton Dry Beefy Onion Soup Mix

I was in the middle of making beef with au jus for french dip sandwiches when I realized I was out of Lipton beefy onion soup mix, a main ingredient in my au jus drippings.  Not wanting to stop what I was doing to run to the store, I decided I would quickly try and make my own.  All I'm going to say at this point is that I will definitely not be buying those little packets again.  I can make a TON of this with ingredients I already have in my spice cupboard, and it was soooooo good.  The best au jus I have ever made! Ingredients: 8 Tbsp beef bouillon powder (I like the Knorr beef granulated bouillon for this) 1/2 cup minced onion flakes 3 tsp parsley 2 tsp onion powder 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp sugar 1/4 tsp black pepper Place all the ingredients in a mason jar or other airtight container, secure the lid and shake till well combined.  Keep in your spice cabinet or another dark, cool place. 2 Tbsp of this mix should replace 1 package of soup mix

Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread

I've been wanting to try a no-knead overnight bread recipe for months but never tried it until Dee's sweet newly-wed friend, Addison, made us a loaf.  I could kick myself for not trying this sooner!!  I love artisan bread - the fermented flavor of it, the crisp chewiness of the outside crust and soft, delicious inside.  Smother a piece of that bread with butter and jam and I'm in complete heaven. This bread is SO quick to throw together and requires simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.  Just flour, salt, yeast and water!  The hardest part is letting it do it's thing for a minimum of 8 hours but up to 24 hours.  (Every recipe I have read says the best flavor starts with at least 12 hours of counter time.)  Best practice for me is to just mix the ingredients together the night before you want to eat it, cover in saran wrap and leave it to do it's thing till you are ready to bake the next day! Is it bad that it's becoming a habit

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork

The first time I ever made this pork I did a huge pork loin, almost doubling this recipe, and Mikey's band who were over for dinner demolished every scrap of it.  It was so incredibly yummy that we cooked it again just a few days later and it's been a favorite ever since. What I love about this recipe is that getting it in the slow cooker is so simple... just a few ingredients to rub on the pork and you can throw it in and let it get started.  Then when it's closer to dinner time, you can throw the glaze together and start basting while you are preparing your side dishes.  It's perfect for those mornings when you are rushing to get out of the house, and you get to come home to the most divine smell!  We have served this pork over mashed potatoes, with roast potatoes and even with rice and tortillas. Ingredients: 2  tsp ground sage 1 tsp  salt 1/2  tsp black pepper 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed 1  cup water 3-5  pounds boneless pork loin Glaze: 1  cup