Spicy Peppercorn and Pecorino Breadsticks

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  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons ground semolina


Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add 1/2 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 30 minutes. Add remaining 3 cups flour, olive oil, black pepper, salt, and red pepper; stir until soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); cover and let rest 10 minutes. Knead in half of cheese; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Knead in remaining cheese. Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down. Roll dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Preheat oven to 450°.Sprinkle 1 tablespoon semolina onto each of 2 baking sheets. Cut dough in half lengthwise to form 2 (12 x 4-inch) rectangles. Cut each rectangle crosswise into 12 (1-inch-wide) strips. Working with 1 strip at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), gently roll each strip into a 15-inch-long rope. Place rope on prepared pan, and repeat procedure with remaining strips, placing 12 on each pan. Cover and let dough rise 20 minutes. Uncover dough; bake each pan at 450° for 12 minutes. Remove breadsticks from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 breadsticks.
With black and red pepper, these breadsticks pack some heat. If you don?t have semolina, you can use cornmeal.

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