Recipe: Beer and garlic bread sticks by Muffy Vhay
Water. Everywhere. Standing water, running water, falling water, flooding, ponding. Yikes! Some really deep and wide, impassable channels in our ranch roads. I’ve seen several road crews here in the valley and in Pleasant Valley just looking at all these gushers in disbelief. Meteorologist Jeff Thompson (KOLO) mentioned it always takes a flood to end a drought. Not much in nature is gradual, it seems. We’re at once grateful for all this moisture and genuinely tired of it. Even the dogs don’t want to go out in the rain.
Washoe Lake is full and so are the flyway wetlands ponds at the south end of the lake. All the local brush should thrive this summer. We lost so much sage and wildland vegetation due to the drought all this water is a real reprieve for the hills. Our pond is full to overflowing; the fields have deep water — maybe even enough to drown a few gophers, the bane of our existence.
It also should be a good garden year. I’ve yet to order seeds — always a pleasure. We were gone for a while, and it’s good to get back to normal. Especially good to get back to garden planning and my kitchen.
The recipe for this week, which originally came from an old Sunset Magazine and has been altered a good bit, is one I made often quite a few years ago and had almost forgotten. We used to make these bread sticks as nibble food for craft fairs, wine walks, pot luck suppers and after school snacks. Use a dip like hummus or tzatziki (cucumber-yoghurt) and make short bread sticks to dip for party appetizers. This is an easy recipe, but it does take time because it’s a yeast dough.
BEER AND GARLIC BREAD STICKS
This recipe makes about 60 to 90 bread sticks, depending on their size. Don’t try to double it unless you have two ovens. For a recent gathering of about 60 people, I made two recipes, and had quite a bit left over. They keep for several weeks in an airtight container. You will need two or three jelly roll pans, approximately 11-by-17 inches. Also, possibly three shelves in your oven. The recipe includes beer — use a flavorful one you would like to drink. Stay away from really cheap beers and the bitter stouts. Use it fresh or stale — it doesn’t seem to matter.
One package yeast (not instant)
3/4 cup each warm water, canola oil, beer
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder (such as Lawry’s) or 1 teaspoon crushed jarred garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
4 1/2 cups unsifted flour
Olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper for spreading after baking
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add oil, beer, salt and seasonings. With a wooden spoon, beat in about 3 1/2 cups of the flour. Spread the remaining flour on board or counter and knead it in. Dough will be soft and sticky.
Make into a ball and return to bowl. Cover and let rise until double. Knead again.
Divide dough into two (for regular length bread sticks) or three (for short sticks) parts. Roll out into rectangles about 4 or 5 inches by 10 inches to about 1/4-to-1/2-inch thickness. Slice crosswise into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide. Twist each strip a few times before placing in close spaced, neat rows on greased pans.
Bake about 35-45 minutes, or until pale toasty brown. (The longer you bake them, the crisper they will be). You may need to rotate the pans in your oven to achieve even browning.
As soon as they are out of the oven, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and garlic powder.
David and Muffy Vhay own Deer Run Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Contact the ranch at 775-882-3643.