It can be so hard to stay away from packaged food and all the weird, hidden chemicals that come with it. Wouldn't you love to have a pantry filled with food you know is good?

The Homemade Pantry is the answer. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt promises that you're in good hands with Alana Chernila, who welcomes you into her "wonderfully messy kitchen" with  "problem-solving, 'tense moment' tips and handy storage advice."

Turn dinner into something special with homemade delights such as the following recipe for . . .


makes thirty-two 8-inch breadsticks

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 2/3 cup warm water (between 100°F and 110°F)

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus additional for the counter

  • 1½ teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl and the baking sheets

  • 2 tablespoons poppy or caraway seeds

Combine the sugar and yeast with the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 5 minutes. It should be slightly foamy. Add 1¼ cups of the flour and the salt and olive oil. Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed using the paddle attachment.

Dust the counter with the remaining ¾ cup flour. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead the additional flour into the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has lost most of its stickiness. Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise until doubled in size. This will take 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

Punch the air out of the dough with one swift punch, and turn the dough out on a floured counter again. Sprinkle the seeds onto the dough; then knead them into the dough for about 1 minute. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest for 5 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and set it aside. Divide the dough in half, then halves again, and then halves again. Repeat until you have 32 roughly equal pieces. Lay the plastic wrap over the balls of dough and set up your baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. Take each ball of dough, one at a time, and roll it between your hands until you have a breadstick that is about 8 inches long and no more than ½ inch in diameter. Lay the breadsticks on the tray with 2 inches between them. Let rest uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the breadsticks for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are slightly golden. Let cool entirely before storing.


Room temperature: covered container, 7 days

Freezer: freezer-safe container or bag, 3 months (recrisp in a 375°F oven for 5 minutes)

Reprinted from the book The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. Copyright © 2012 by Alana Chernila. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Jennifer May. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. Read our review of this book.

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