Cooking inspiration is what I desperately need right now, and MomAdvice is coming to my rescue and offering me a great way to share the results of an experiment I selected from Amy’s Notebook 8-21-08.

I made homemade breadsticks @ Chocolate on my Cranium.

Why do I need inspiration to cook in my kitchen right now? Because it is dark in my kitchen. The overhead light is broken, and I don’t know when the replacement light will arrive. So I’ve just been avoiding the kitchen at all costs and fixing what’s easy and fast because I don’t enjoy being in my dark kitchen as much as my bright kitchen. I also seem to have developed a fear of making things from scratch. Before I had kids I would make things from scratch all the time. Two kids later my goal is to minimize the prep time for meals and I fear trying to cook and then finding both toddlers tugging at my legs and needing my attention during a time-sensitive step in a recipe.
The homemade breadsticks were a huge success and I’m so glad Amy motivated me to try them! I’m also hoping that by writing about my questions here that some of my readers who are seasoned breadmakers will chime in with some advice for me. I really want to keep making these, but I hope I can improve my technique.

I was intimidated about kneading the dough by hand, so I used my bread machine. This involved actually taking the bread machine out of storage in my pantry, which might give you a clue about how familiar I am with using it – not at all. The recipe said to knead the dough for 5 minutes, for some reason I thought I should do 10 minutes in the bread machine. Next time I’ll stick to the recipe and try 5 minutes because my best guess is that over-kneading the bread resulted in a slightly spongy texture.

When I started taking the dough out of the bread machine I was horrified that my breadsticks would be an inedible flop. The dough was super-sticky and sticking to my hands so much it was hard to get it to stick to the cookie sheet. I did flour my hands, but evidently not enough! Finally I got most of the dough off my hands and onto the jelly roll pan. Forget about flipping it to coat both sides with butter, I wasn’t going to touch it and get it stuck on me again. I also could not get it to spread all the way to the edges, but found when I let it rest it did some spreading on it’s own.

The breadsticks baked successfully and everyone at the dinner table liked them! I cooked spaghetti and sauce while the breadsticks were baking in the oven. Next time I make them I want to try adding herbs to the dough, and sprinkling cheese on top. I’m grateful to Amy @ MomAdvice and Cocoa @ Chocolate on my Cranium for inspiring me in the kitchen. I hope to be participating in more of Amy’s Notebook Experiments as I have time. Check out what everyone else is busy crafting and cooking here.