Homemade parsley braided bread sticks are soft and chewy and have a delicious, salty-herbal flavour. They’re made with a yeast dough, similar to classic dinner rolls, and go excellent with warm butter or a spicy dip. Of course, they taste just as scrumptious on their own. Seasoned with fresh parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano, and sea salt, it’s a crowd-pleasing treat for any occasion. The bread sticks are a delicious snack, and can be served as appetizer or on the side with salad, or pack them in your kid’s lunch box. The parsley braids are an all-time favourite in our home and I hope you’ll love them too!
What ingredients do I need to make braided bread sticks?
Before getting to the recipe, let’s have a quick rundown of the ingredients needed to bake braided bread sticks:
- The main ingredient is strong white flour, which is the UK equivalent of the US’s bread flour. I have also made the recipe with plain (all-purpose) flour, which tastes great as well. The plain (all-purpose) flour resulted in bread sticks that were more on the cakey side. While using strong (bread) flour created a soft and bread-like texture.
- Parsley gives the bread stick a wonderful earthy, herbaceous flavor and creates a lovely green hue. You can use both flat leaf or curled parsley, but I recommend working with fresh leaves as frozen and thawed parsley can water down the dough.
- The other ingredients include buttermilk, honey, and active dry yeast. I also added grated Parmigiano Reggiano, which enhances the flavour even more. Adding a dash of sea salt before baking is optional, I like the extra saltiness.
How to make braided bread sticks at home
Granted, baking homemade bread sticks takes a bit of time. Most of it spent is waiting for the yeast dough to rise, the actual work involved is quite easy though. Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved along with a few useful tips:
- The first step is to activate the yeast, for which you need yeast, water, and honey. I used active dry yeast, which needs to be dissolved in water before it can be added to the dough. The water should be lukewarm, around 35° to 40°C (95°F to 105°F). The correct water temperature is important to activate the yeast properly. Honey acts as food for the yeast. This process takes approximately 10 minutes and is done once the yeast is dissolved and you see bubbles and froth.
- While the yeast is dissolving, blend the parsley, buttermilk, and salt. This parsley buttermilk mixture will give the braids a lovely green hue.
- The next step is to combine the yeast with the liquid and dry ingredients. Knead the dough vigorously to strengthen the gluten, which gives the braids a soft texture. You can do this by hand if you feel that your arms could do with a workout. But I prefer my stand mixer do this job (use the hook attachment).
- The dough needs time to rise and the yeast to take action. So let it rest at a warmish place for 1 to 1.5 hours, covered with clingfilm (plastic/Saran wrap) or a kitchen towel.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a well-floured surface and cut into thin strips. A sharp pairing knife or pizza cutter works best. Then twist two stripes into braids or ropes but try not to stretch the dough too much. It’s good idea to spray your hands with a wee bit of cooking spray so the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers.
- Brush the braids with water and leave the to raise for another 10 minutes Finally bake the bread sticks and enjoy.
Shortcuts for busy lassies and lads
So, you’re short on time but still want to enjoy yummy homemade bread sticks? I’m familiar with this scenario and I have two ways you can speed the process up:
- Want delsih parsley-flavoured dinner rolls? Then prepare the dough from scratch as outlined in steps 1 to 4 but skip the braid-making part, which is a little time consuming. Instead, roll portions of dough into small balls, arrange them on a lined baking tray (sheet), and leave them covered for 30 minutes to raise once more. Brush with water and bake at 200°C (400°C / gas mark 6) for 15 minutes.
- If you’re more keen on the braided look without the hassle of mixing your own dough, finely mince 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and knead them into a pre-made yeast dough. Season with salt according to your taste. Then form and bake the parsley braids following steps 5 through 7.
Packaging, storing and gifting the parsley braided bread sticks
The bread sticks taste best on the day they are baked. Or straight out the oven and glazed with butter according to my husband. In case you want to store the braids, bring them to a party, or gift them to a friend, keep the bread sticks in an airtight container and store them for up to three days. I love to put them in tall clip-to jars that I decorate with a printable label, which you can download at the end of this post. You can also freeze the bread sticks for a month. Let them thaw in the fridge and bake them in a hot oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
Parsley Braided Bread Sticks
Prep Time: 40 min + 1.5 hrs
Baking Time: 10-12 min
Yields: 20 bread sticks
You can easily customise this braided bread stick recipe and swap parsley for other herbs such as oregano, cilantro, cress, or chives. Hard-leaved herbs such as rosemary or thyme taste delicious but won’t tint the dough green.
For the parsley braided bread sticks
- 1/2 sachet / 3.5 g (0.13 oz) active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp lukewarm water
- 25 g (1 cup) fresh parsley leaves
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) buttermilk
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) lukewarm water
- 1 tsp table salt
- 250 g (2 cups) bread flour (see note above), plus some more for flouring the work surface
- 40 g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
For packaging and gifting
- clip-top jars
- printable labels (download below)
- kitchen scale or measuring cups and spoon
- large mixing bowl
- pizza cutter
- baking tray (sheet)
- silicone baking mat or baking (parchment) paper
- oven mitts
- cooling wrack
1) Activate the yeast
To activate the yeast, add 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and honey into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the active dry yeast on top. Let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has dissolved, and the mixture looks bubbly.
2) Make the parsley buttermilk mixture
Add the parsley leaves, buttermilk, salt, and 60 ml (1/4 cup) lukewarm water in a blender and puree on high until well combined.
3) Mix the dough
Put the flour and grated Parmigiano Reggiano into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast honey mixture and parsley buttermilk mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, combine the ingredients first on low, and then for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until the dough looks satiny.
4) Let the dough rise
Grease a large mixing bowl with oil or cooking spray and put the dough inside the bowl. Brush the dough with a little oil to keep it from drying out. Cover the bowl with cling film and a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours.
5) Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F / gas mark 6) and line two baking trays (sheets) with silicone baking mats or baking (parchment) paper.
6) Braid the bread sticks
Flour the worksurface and roll out the dough 0.5 cm (0.2 in) thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp pairing knife cut the dough into 25 cm x 1 cm (10 in x 0.4 in) long strips. Twist two strips into a braid and place on the lined baking trays (sheets). Brush with water, cover with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
7) Bake the parsley braided bread sticks
Optionally, sprinkle the braids lightly with sea salt. Bake the bread sticks in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring the sticks onto a cooling wrack.
Free Printable Gift Tags
Click on the button to download your free printable gift tags to store and give the parsley braided bread sticks!
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