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Makes 50 breadsticks
2 teaspoons active dry yeast3 1/2 cups (14 oz/400g) unbleached bread flour1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/350ml) lukewarm water, about 110°f (43°c)2 teaspoons salt2 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon cayenne2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 cup (4 oz/120g) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese1/2 cup (2 oz/60g) semolina
In a bowl, stir together the yeast, 1/2 cup of the flour, and 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand until the mixture bubbles and rises slightly, 30 minutes.
Add the remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup warm water, the salt, pepper, cayenne, and olive oil, and stir together to form a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface, kneading in the Parmigiano gradually, until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Alternately this can be made in an electric mixer on slow speed using the dough hook, kneading for 5 minutes.
Using your hands, shape the dough into an 15- x 5-inch rectangle. Brush with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place, about 75°f, until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Sprinkle both sides of the dough with the semolina. Cut the dough into 10 equal 1/2-inch strips in the long direction. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 sections. This will make 50 pieces. Pick up each piece of dough and roll and stretch to fit the width of a baking sheet, about 8 to 10 inches long.Place in a single layer, 1/2 inch apart, on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in the middle shelf of the oven until light golden, 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove the breadsticks from the baking sheet and cool on a cooling rack.
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