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Uncle Williams Salt 'n' Peppah Breadsticks

We woke up last weekend to Uncle William and his camel parked next to our BMW in the driveway. I have no idea how he and his camel Mr. Thirsty ventured all the way from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, but old hippies have a way of appearing. He told us of his recent foray with a Berber tribe where he learned to play a rabab--a one-stringed fiddle--and made salt 'n' peppah breadsticks from a ageless French woman who swears she was married to a Marinid Sultan and this was his favorite snack (hmmmmm-wasn't that dynasty back in the mid 1200s?). Que sera, sera, Uncle William, may you and your camel never go thirsty.

Ingredients

One-quarter cup organic dark rye flour
One-quarter cup unbleached all-purpose flour
One-half tsp. baking powder
One-quarter tsp. baking soda
One-half tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon pepper…or… one half-tsp. smoked black pepper
one-quarter cup buttermilk (shake well before measuring)
2 tsp. butter, melted, cooled
1 large egg white, lightly beaten until frothy
semi-coarse salt (Uncle William prefers Murray River Australian or New Zealand)

Preparation:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place racks in upper and lower thirds position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, blend flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and pepper with a fork. Using the fork, stir in the buttermilk and butter (dough will be a little sticky). Lightly flour work surface, turn out dough, knead and fold dough about 6 times with the palm of your hand (don't overwork).

Roll dough into a 12-inch log, cut into 16 equal pieces. With your hands, lightly roll each piece into a 12-inch rope. Twist 2 ropes into a braid or cut ropes in half and braid halves together (long ones are nice with dinner, short ones better for a cocktail snack.) Place on parchment lined baking sheet, brush with egg white, and sprinkle lightly with semi-coarse salt of choice.

Bake 10 minutes in lower position, bake 10 minutes more in upper position, and remove from oven and place bread sticks on cooling rack. Yields 8 long sticks or 16 small sticks.

If not using right away, keep in a zip lock bag, bread sticks should be eaten within a day or two, nice if warmed slightly before serving.

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