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The Nutrition Nosh

Susan Glassman, Extension Educator, shares Nutrition and Wellness information and recipes to make life healthier!
Rolling the dough into a rectangle for Twisted Breadsticks with Rosemary!
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Let it Dough!

Can you smell the bread baking in your oven? Making bread is easier than thought; the biggest investment besides ingredients is your time!  This investment saves money spent on bakery like breads and includes the family in a fun activity. This activity is also highly therapeutic and relaxing. Homemade bread is a gift enjoyed by all ages. Even though there are lots of mixes and machines, there is no greater satisfaction than making your own bread!

Making bread requires the following ingredients that you may already have in your pantry:

  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Oil

When making bread, choose the active dry or granulated yeast. To be successful in bread making, yeast has to be revived with water and food. This is referred to as "proofing" or activating the yeast. Rapid rise yeast is best for bread machine use, and when you are in a time crunch. Rapid rise does not need to be activated; it's added to ingredients and mixed together to form the dough, then it rises and bakes. Make sure to purchase the correct yeast for your recipe. Active dry and rapid rise yeast are two very different products.

Reference more information about the different types of yeast and recipes at

Kneading develops the gluten; knead by pushing, turning and pulling forward. Knead in a circular motion to develop long gluten strands. With kneading, be careful not to over knead or use too much flour. After kneading, the final product looks smooth and satiny and feels springy and elastic.

Rising, the ideal temperature for bread to rise is 80 degrees, after kneading gently spread a thin coating of oil on the dough and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let bread rise away from drafts. Some put the bowl in the microwave or on the stove. Choose the warmest part of the kitchen, stay away from vents and fans that may change the temperature in the kitchen. After rising, you can form and shape the dough and give it a second rise.

Bake in the oven. Bake bread 1/3 away from the bottom of the oven. Generally, white flour bread is baked at 375 degrees, wheat breads require less heat at 350 degrees.  Follow the recipe instructions for baking.

Bread can be tested for doneness by using a kitchen thermometer; bread should read at 190 degrees or higher. Sometimes, the crust can brown quickly. Check, turn and use a piece of aluminum foil for a tent to slow the crust from over-browning and cook completely.

Store bread at room temperature in a tight plastic bag, use quickly. For longer storage, freeze bread.

Enjoy the recipe below for Twisted Breadsticks with Rosemary, a delicious accompaniment to any meal from our "Let it Dough" Bread Making Class at University of Illinois Extension, serving Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall and Putnam Counties.

Twisted Bread Sticks with Rosemary:


  • 1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water (110◦- 120◦)
  • 1-1/2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Shortening
  • 2-1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary, fresh & minced
  • 1 egg (prepare egg wash, 1 egg & 1 T. water)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling


  1. Whisk together warm water, olive oil and yeast in a medium size mixing bowl. Let yeast activate for 5-10 minutes until bubbly and frothy in appearance.
  2. To yeast mixture, stir in salt and flour. Mix and knead ingredients for 5 minutes, adding a sprinkle of flour as needed.
  3. Add minced rosemary over dough and knead until mixed thoroughly. Lightly oil the dough ball.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place in an 80◦ temperature area of the kitchen away from drafts. (Some people place their bread in the microwave to rise). Let bread rise approximately 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 375◦.
  6. Lightly flour surface and with a rolling pin, roll out dough into a rectangle, ½ inch thickness by 8 inches wide. Use a pizza cutter, cut long strips, approximately 1-1/2 inches wide. The recipe will make 8-10 bread sticks.
  7. Twist dough strips and place lengthwise on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until the baking sheet is full of twisted bread sticks.
  8. Brush dough strips with egg wash (beat one egg with one tablespoon water) using a pastry brush.
  9. Sprinkle dough strips with sea salt (optional, but it really makes the recipe).
  10. Place bread sticks in the oven, bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remember to check and turn baking pan as needed so one side of the bread sticks don't over-brown.
  11. Remove bread sticks and cool on a rack.


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