Our extended family includes five young cousins all with birthdays in August, so there is usually one massive party for them all. Yesterday’s bash carried the theme of “crawling things” that included mostly bugs and snakes, and the day was just right for outdoor games like searching for plastic bugs instead of eggs, etc.

Food of course included “worms” (spaghetti) in sauce and “snakesticks.” The breadstick recipe on which they were based is a good introduction to yeast dough for kids, and this variation adds even more fun to the baking lesson. We doubled the recipe for the two dozen people in attendance and were glad we did.

Breadsticks, aka Snakesticks

1 T dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 c warm water
1 t salt
1 to 2 T sugar
4 c whole wheat flour OR half and half whole wheat and unbleached enriched flour

1 egg
1 t. water
1 t garlic powder (optional)
1 t salt

(for Snakesticks: sliced or chopped black olives)

Mix all except the flour together and then add the flour gradually to make a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let dough stand for about 10 minutes to relax.

Cut the dough into 24 pieces. (To do this most evenly, shape it into a fat log and cut in half; then cut each piece in half again. Divide once more in half so you have 8 pieces. Roll each into a small log and divide evenly in thirds.)

Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray or oil well.

Roll each piece of dough into a long rope and place on the prepared baking sheet. For regular breadsticks, keep the dough in a straight line. For “snakesticks,” arrange each stick in a curving line suggesting a snake.

If making snakesticks, press two small pieces of black olive for eyes at one end. Press firmly into the dough.

Beat the egg, water, garlic powder and salt together until well mixed and brush over the sticks.

Bake at 400 degrees about 10 minutes or until golden.


Sprinkle the sticks with crushed herbs, sesame or poppy seeds or Parmesan cheese after applying the egg wash.

Omit the salt and garlic powder in the egg wash and sprinkle the sticks generously with kosher or seasoning salt.

Omit the salt and garlic powder in the egg wash and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

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