Fennel and Sage Breadsticks

The combination of fennel seed and dried sage gives these sticks an unmistakably Italian flavor. Make them a part of your next antipasto plate.

Serves: 32Hands-on: 35 minutesTotal: 10 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 32


  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1¾ tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 tsp. ground fennel
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fennel seeds


  • To make the sponge, combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup bread flour and beat 1 minute. Cover and let stand at room temperature 8 hours.
  • Add to the sponge the milk, rubbed sage, ground fennel, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough remaining bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and pinch off golf-ball-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a very thin rope, no longer than the baking pan. Place on prepared pans, ½" apart.
  • Brush remaining olive oil across the sticks. Evenly sprinkle on fennel seeds. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 8–10 minutes. Cool and serve.