Soft Gluten Free Breadsticks

Soft Gluten Free Breadsticks

These soft gluten free breadsticks are a homemade version of the famous Olive Garden breadsticks. Fluffy and soft inside, with a thin, almost crispy layer outside, and covered in garlic butter.

Close up of a breadstick on brown surface with salt on top

When my bread book first came out, I was so excited. My gluten free son could finally taste real BREAD. He would know what that chew was like, and what yeast bread actually is meant to taste like.

I still am so excited when I think about how far we have come in baking really good gluten free yeast bread. I knew that it would take some adjusting. Up until that point, gluten free yeast bread dough was a batter, and could only be shaped with very wet hands. I was so happy to leave that behind!

I knew the new ingredients would take some getting used to. I thought you might have a bit of trouble finding them, and I tried to prepare everyone as best I could. But I wasn’t prepared for a certain reaction that you might have to the dough…

Most of the recipes in the book have two rises, like traditional yeast bread. The first rise is before shaping, and it’s when the yeast actually develops and adds flavor to the bread.

I like that first rise to be in the refrigerator, since that slows down the yeast development. And it also makes the dough easier to handle. The second rise is after shaping.

Before the book came out, though, I had no idea how impatient you might be about waiting for the bread dough to rise in the refrigerator! That first rise nearly did you in, it seems. If you look at the early reviews of the book, you’ll see.

I started recommending that you begin with this recipe for Garlic Butter Soft Gluten Free Breadsticks from page 177. These breadsticks are legendary at Olive Garden restaurants, and I knew you missed them.

A row of breadsticks on beige towel

And the best part? They only need one rise! They’re made with our gluten free bread flour blend, so they must be magic after all.

The flavor of these breadsticks comes almost entirely from the butter-rich dough, and the garlic butter generously slathered on top, both in the middle of and at the end of baking.

This recipe was reproduced, with permission, on a popular commercial website when the book was released in 2013. Over time, the link has disappeared, though. I

had to be sure that you had the recipe, whether you have the book or not. And I thought a video of my making and shaping them might help, too.

Especially during the fall and winter holidays, when family and friends are gathering around the table to share hearty meals, we need bread. These gluten free breadsticks are the ones that you can proudly serve to gluten-free and gluten-eaters alike, without asking permission or forgiveness.


Breadsticks on a beige towel

Like this recipe?

Yield: 12 breadsticks


Bread Dough
4 1/4 cups (595 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour,* plus more for sprinkling

2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast

2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar

2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (11 fluid ounces, weighed) warm water (about 95°F)

Garlic Butter
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour

100 grams (about 11 1/2 tablespoons) Better Batter gluten free flour (or my recipe for a homemade Better Batter blend) (71%)**

25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

**For the all-purpose gluten-free flour in Gluten-Free Bread Flour, use either the commercially available Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour blend, or my homemade mock version of Better Batter. I keep it simple and use Better Batter, and add the other 2 simple ingredients to it. For a calculator to do the math for you, click here.

If you are in the U.K., a product called “Isabel’s Baking Fix” is Expandex under a different name. It’s available online.

If you are in Canada, Ultratex 3 is available here. It is 3 times as strong as Expandex, so the formula for making the bread flour is changed. It is:

105 grams all purpose gluten free flour
30 grams unflavored whey protein isolate
5 grams Ultratex 3


  • Make the dough. Place the flour, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Add the butter and water, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky, but should be smooth and stretchy. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  • Shape the dough. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth as described in These General Shaping Tips. Divide the dough into 12 pieces of equal size (each about 3 1/2 ounces).

    Working with one piece at a time (covering the other pieces with a moist tea towel when you’re not working with them), shape into a round, then pat into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches long. Fold the rectangle along the length halfway, from bottom to top, and top to bottom. Fold the smaller rectangle now in half, each side just folded over one another. Roll the dough back and forth on the lightly floured surface to seal the edges well, and to elongate it slightly until the dough is about 7 inches long, tapering the dough on both ends. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet, each piece about 2 inches apart from the other.

  • Let the dough rise. Once all of the breadsticks are shaped, cover the baking sheet with oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free location to rise until the breadsticks are nearly doubled in size (about 1 hour, depending upon the environment). About 25 minutes before the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic and preheat your oven to 375°F.

  • Bake the rolls. Once the breadsticks have finished rising, remove the plastic, place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350°F. Bake for 5 minutes. While the breadsticks are baking, melt the butter for the garlic butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl or in a small saucepan. Mix in the garlic salt. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush each breadstick generously with the garlic butter. Return the breadsticks to the oven and continue to bake until they are lightly golden brown all over (about another 5 minutes). Remove the breadsticks from the oven and brush again with garlic butter. Serve immediately.

  • From the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013.


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