how to make gluten-free breadsticks

Several years ago, I gave a talk at a co-op nearby here. The room was packed and people were happy to be there. During the question and answer period, one woman needed to have her question answered first. “I’m celiac, and I’m supposed to be gluten-free, but I just can’t let go of gluten. I can, at home. But when my work colleagues and I go out to the [insert name of cheesy chain Italian restaurant here], I just can’t resist. I have to eat their breadsticks.”

There was a silence in the room, especially from me. I didn’t know what to say.

“Can you teach me how to make them?” she asked.

I wish I had known then how to make these breadsticks. I would have loved to save her from the gluten. But I’ve spent years learning how to make good gluten-free bread and now I can teach you how to make great gluten-free breadsticks. (I have a feeling they’re better than the ones at that chain restaurant, in the end.)

Ma’am, if you’re still reading, these are for you.

GLUTEN-FREE BREADSTICKS

750 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
3 tablespoons psyllium whole husks
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 to 3 cups warm water, at 110°

1 egg, beaten

Mixing the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, psyllium, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Adding the wet ingredients. Pour the honey and olive oil into the dry ingredients. Crack the egg and let it plop in. Turn on the mixer. As soon as the egg disappears into the flour, begin pouring in the warm water. Watch the texture of the batter carefully (and look at the video again until it feels familiar). The final batter should be as wet as thick waffle batter. Let the mixer run for 3 to 4 minutes to beat air into the batter.

Letting the dough rise. You have two options here.

1. Put the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap. Set it in the refrigerator overnight and forget about it. This will mean a long, slow rise. It will also help develop flavor.

2. If you must have breadsticks the same day you made the dough, put the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm place. When it has risen and the texture has changed so you can knead the dough (see the video), your dough is ready.

Forming the breadsticks. If you have refrigerated the dough, take it out of the cold and let it sit on the counter until the dough comes to room temperature, about 1 hour. Grab a piece of the kneadable dough. (I like about a ball of dough about 50 grams big.) Knead the ball of dough to work any air bubbles out of it. Set it down on a marble slab or slightly floured surface. Rolling your hands back and forth, gently, over the top of the ball of dough, nudge the ball of dough into a long stick of dough. (Think Playdough. And watch the video again if this is not clear.) Smooth out the edges with your fingers to make the bread stick even.

Letting the breadsticks proof. Put the breadsticks onto a parchment-paper-covered baking sheet. (This dough will make several batches of breadsticks, so please don’t try to smoosh them all onto the same baking sheet.) Set the baking sheet in a warm place and let the breadsticks rest for 30 minutes. This will allow them to rise a bit more.

Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 450°.

Baking the breadsticks. Brush the beaten egg over the tops of each of the breadsticks. Bake until the crust of the breadsticks is as crisp and browned as you wish. For soft breadsticks, bake for 10 to 15 minutes. For crisp breadsticks, bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (When you start smelling the breadsticks, start checking. Your oven and common sense will tell you what to do.) Take the breadsticks out of the oven.

Repeat with the remaining dough, if you wish. Or, you could save the dough in the refrigerator for several days and make a batch of breadsticks each day.

Makes 40 to 60 breadsticks, depending on the size you make them.

Egg-free variation. If you cannot eat eggs, try adding 2 more tablespoons of oil to the bread. Or, I have also read that an extra 2 tablespoons of potato starch might work. Can anyone chime in on suggestions? Also, see this post for egg-free baking.

Feel like playing? If you prefer a multi-grain bread, try using 750 grams of this whole-grain mix.

Once you hold this dough in your hands, you’re going to want to make other breads with it. Go.

 

If you found this video useful or interesting, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

50 comments on “how to make gluten-free breadsticks

  1. lis0r

    Sorry if this is answered in the video, but why whole psyllium husks, and not powdered?

  2. Sara M

    In the video you add about 1 Tablespoon psyllium, but the recipe calls for 3? Also, there isn’t any honey on the ingredients list or in the instructions! Should there be always honey in the recipe?

    These look lovely btw!!

    1. shauna

      The honey is optional but I went ahead and added it to the ingredients list. Thanks.

      The amount of psyllium you use? It’s up to you. In the video, we used 1 tablespoon. But in the batch you see in the photograph up top, we used 3. The more psyllium, the tighter the dough, the crisper. So, if you want softer breadsticks, try the 1 tablespoon.

  3. Sara M

    Also, I couldn’t tell very well from the video, is the inside soft and fluffy like the breadsticks you’d get at one of those cheesy Italian chains, or is it more of an all around crunchy breadstick that you can dip into so many things?

    Either one would be awesome!

    1. shauna

      Sara, it depends on how much psyllium you use and how long you cook them. I like the crunchy outside with a soft inside.

  4. Susie

    So… psyllium. Geez lady!! I have all the flours you advised me to get, I have the scale, I have the chia seeds and now I need to have psyllium!! (I am absolutely kidding!) I am very interested in trying these recipes you have been posting lately with the psyllium, it sounds very intriguing… my question is… would the chia be a potential substitute?

    1. shauna

      Chia works pretty well. Make a batch with the chia you have. I think psyllium works much better, however.

  5. Ingrid @ Jammy Chicken

    Love the new video format — fantastic! It’s so much easier to try to match texture when you can see how it moves and squeezes. I’m inspired to make some bread sticks right now…except it’s 101 degrees and I can’t bear the thought of turning on the oven…maybe I can bake them on the sidewalk…

  6. Mari

    The video was fantastic! I look forward to seeing the chef join you in the new and improved videos.

  7. Mary

    Shauna, it’s you! in the video. What a lovely surprise. Got so used to seeing The Chef. Wonderful. You are both fantastic at this video thing. Very much appreciating the videos and enjoying them as well. And thank you so much for showing us clearly the texture of the dough when it’s first mixed and after it’s set. That helps tremendously!!!! Yay. Happy baking!

  8. Kate

    This has to be, by far, one of the most helpful instruction videos I’ve watched. The explanations are really key to me, well done, brilliant recipe!

  9. Toni

    Shauna, these look great. I really appreciate that you don’t use a pre-bought baking mixes. I got into a discussion with someone on another blog that only uses a mix about the high cost of it and she debates that it is cheaper, etc. She was not open –minded about offering an alternative. She did have a blog one day listing a mix but complained it was too hard to do, yadda yadda, yadda.…. Should I have strayed and looked elsewhere but your blog??? No, not really but I told her she could help people but I noticed she sells the mix on her site so there you go, that’s it.
    Your’re the best Shauna, You really CARE about people. You know we have to make things as cheap as we can and we are deeply appreciative of your hard work. I wish you were my neighbor. I would love to bake with you!!! LOL

  10. Zooie

    Thanks so much for this video! I’ve been wondering about the consistency of bread dough, and being able to actually see it was a huge help!

    I’m a newbie to gluten-free and I can’t even tell you how helpful your website has been for me. I’m about half-way through your book and it’s really given me a lot to think about. It’s helped me to gain a healthy perspective on the opportunities I have in front of me of discovering new tastes and options. So thank you.

    I’m also excited for the variety you’re going to be incorporating on your website, as I love them all!

  11. christa

    Shauna, it is very funny that you posted breadsticks! I decided to make pasta 2nite & the one thing I really miss from my previous gluten-filled life is garlic bread! You know the kind: The smell emanating from the kitchen,drawing you in and making you hungry (even if you just ate). It is so nice to know I can re-create that magic. Thanks (again)

  12. Beth W.

    I’m so happy to see an egg-free variation for the dough. But what would be good to brush on top if we can’t have eggs? Would milk work? Or would it get too brown?

  13. Kate Lam Sam

    Wow, fantastic vid Shauna! You are a natural in front of the camera, and as always, you have inspired me to get creative with flours and make food I never thought i’d eat again. :D

  14. Michelle

    Do you think these could be braided to make challah? I have been searching for a GF challah ever since my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 15 months ago. We used to braid challah together and I would love to do it again with her!

  15. Katherine

    Thanks Shauna, they look fantastic! I was wondering if I could make baguettes or bread rolls out of this dough or would I need a different recipe?

  16. Joan

    I have got to try these!!! I love breadsticks that are soft inside and crunchy outside.

    When we were in New York last Thanksgiving, we ate at a little restaurant caller Risotteria that had the most awesome breadsticks. I could have just eaten two orders of those and forgotten all about my risotto which was pretty good also.

  17. Jabbara

    Hmmm, I want to see how this dough would work for pretzels when it’s cooler. Can’t complain about the heat in Portland though. I used psyllium (because of you!) in a gf sourdough bread in place of gums and it worked just fine.

    1. shauna

      Great! we have a recipe for pretzels on the site, and I think it might work better than this. But the psyllium would work great in it.

  18. Patty

    Shauna, I just finished making these, and they are fantastic! Psyllium is my new baking BFF! Seriously, I think I have found my new gf baguette recipe. I made these breadsticks today, and they are great. I used half the recipe, (used my scale, of course, but kept the same amount of yeast), and added some bits of parmesan cheese and kosher salt crystals after adding the egg wash (from my own chickens). I am so pleased with the result: Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside with great dough structure. I even posted pics on my facebook status.

  19. Miriam

    I’ve been a follower for a long time, and have been so grateful for your expertise and creativity, and your willingness to share both with the world! I am not allergic to gluten, but do much better without it, and have successfully adapted my eating patterns to reflect this. But man, do I miss bread! I have tried a lot of gluten-free bread recipes and even more store-bought products, but none of them have hit the sweet spot for me…until these breadsticks, that is! I made a batch of the dough the day I read your post and baked it over a couple of days, and they are FABULOUS! I opted for the crunchy version and was so happy with the result. I’ve already collected a generous helping of “I can’t believe it’s gluten free!” comments from friends and family. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (And I agree with the other commenters that having the video to see the target consistency of the batter was incredibly helpful.)

  20. Patty

    News alert: This recipe makes magnificent pizza crust. I just made two pizzas and am saving the rest of the dough for perhaps…a pizza? Thanks Shauna. I have been reading your blog for a few years now, and it seems that everything about ratios and flours and weighing is finally making sense. My family is certainly enjoying the results.

      1. Patty

        Shauna, I used the leftover dough from earlier this week. It was still springy, and made one last wonderful pizza. I have many plans for this dough. Thanks so much. God bless psyllium husk.

  21. Debi

    Wow– home run on these! GF Anna and I made them for a family gathering last night. The group was decidedly not gluten free, but everyone, including 4 small children, loved these breadsticks. They are a fantastic substitute for the old wheat breadsticks, and lacking nothing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  22. Joanne

    Hi Shauna
    I love this dough and the bread it makes, and have used it very successfully for small rolls and buns for my 9yo coeliac son. I really like the way the psyllium husk makes the dough change texture, it seems much better than xanthan gum. Your video makes it clear what to expect from the consistency of the batter, which is very helpful. Its such an easy dough I’m going to try to bake some each morning for him for school lunches rather than defrosting gluten free bread that he doesn’t really like. Before going GF I was baking from the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day book. They work on the assumption that bread dough can last in the fridge for up to a week — I wonder if you have tried this or have any idea how long this dough would last in the fridge? That would make early morning daily baking more of a realistic possibility! And Shauna, thank you so much, the recipes, information and encouragement on your website have made the transition to gluten free so much easier and more enjoyable.
    Jo

  23. Amanda

    Wonderful recipe! I made these the other day, and they were quickly devoured by GF and gluten eaters alike! I didn’t have a stand mixer where I was, so I mixed this up by hand. I don’t recommend trying that! I pulled a muscle while mixing! I also ended up adding too much water, so the dough was still sloppy and wet after 20 hours in the fridge. Never daunted, I dished it out and cooked it anyway! It was the most “real” feeling texture and taste I have had in AGES! Mine turned out great as lovely flatbreads, topped with rosemary, salt, and pepper. I can’t wait to mix up another batch (with the mixer, this time!)

  24. Samantha

    Hello! Just found your site tonight and I’ve been clicking sound on it for a while. You’ve got some great ideas and a beautiful family. I wanted to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to yor blog, and I WILL be back. :)

    Also, the link for your all-purpose flour mix is broken on this post, and I thought it’d be hard to figure out without it being pointed out.

    <3 Samantha

  25. Rachel

    I decided to try this recipe today. It was my second time in my life working with yeast dough and the first time was me just playing. I decided to halve the recipe in case it didn’t work for me and I admit I didn’t follow exact measurements or ingredients but that seems like its how I always cook. I let the dough rise for 4 hours and it was too sticky. Either not enough psyllium or too much water, most likely the latter. I used the dough anyway in a cake pan in a 400 degree oven checking on it often. It turned out beautifully and even though I wanted to improve it, my family loved it. It looked, tasted, and felt like real bread. Good bread. No sawdust. Can’t thank you enough

  26. Rachel

    Ok I have to comment once more because I made this dough again. More salt, more psyllium, less water. The dough was still a tad sticky but I was able to pick it up and roll it in my hands and roll it out thin with very little trouble. My dough looks different than yours in texture but maybe that’s because my flours are different. Anyway I made yeast rolls and a pizza crust and they tasted better than the bread I made yesterday. I swear this dough is amazing! Its been so exciting to use and I just want to keep thanking you. Bless you shauna and danny for the hard work you do and being kind enough to share with us.

  27. www.flashgopermanenthairremovalrevie.weebly.com

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little
    bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new things
    you post…

  28. Jenifer

    Thank you for this recipe. We made the bread sticks, a pizza crust, and a loaf bread out of it. Every one turned out wonderful! In fact this was the first true to gluten pizza dough we have been able to make. The recipe is super simple and easy to put together. We used the 70/30 flour mixture, coconut oil instead of olive, and a bit of whey with the water to help break down any phytic acid in the grains. I make the dough about 8 am and let it rise until about 1or 2, maybe 3 if I am busy. Then I form it into the pan or desired shape on my stoneware and let it sit covered until about 5 when I bake it. The perfect dough for our busy family!

  29. Sara

    I love this recipe for sandwich bread. I know you’ve said in the past that GF breads don’t do as well in loaf form. This dough makes an excellent bread in a 1.5 lb loaf pan. My husband even liked it (and that’s saying a lot, being that he’s a soft wheat bread addict) and said he’d consider using this stuff as sandwich bread. I am going to have to try using this in pizza next time. Thank you so much for all of your hard work in developing these recipes. I know I speak for all your readers when I say that it has been a blessing to us in so many ways.

  30. Julie Marcum

    Hi Shauna,

    Thank you so very much!!!! This dough is amazing!! This is by far the best gluten free bread that I’ve ever had. And it was so easy to make. If I use some of the dough as pizza crust, would I need to cook the dough before adding the toppings?

      1. Julie Marcum

        Hi Shauna,

        It turns out that my body doesn’t like psyllium husks. But, I saw one of your other muffin recipes you used flax seeds instead. Can I substitute flax seeds with this bread recipe? If so, how do I do it? : ) Do I ground them first? Will I need to use more water?

        Thank you!!
        Julie

  31. Linda

    AWE.SOME. EXCELLENT recipe. Husband said ‘if you wanted to improve on them it would be futile.’ And that ma is only gluten free for me. We sprinkles with garlic salt. I only made 8 of them, so tomorrow I will also make some seedy ones…poppy seeds and sesame perhaps. xx
    ahhh.….….….….….….….….….…..