Becky Luigart-Stayner; Melanie J. Clarke
12 servings (serving size: 1 breadstick)

Mennonites who emigrated from west Prussia brought with them the tradition of baking dough on leaves of cabbage, kale, horseradish, or sweet calamus. The practice survives in the custom of wrapping buttermilk bread dough in beet greens brushed with butter and salt. Serve this novelty bread on a large platter with a bowl of sour cream.

How to Make It

Step 1

Wash beet leaves. Pat leaves dry and set aside.

Step 2

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup bread flour and all-purpose flour to buttermilk mixture; stir to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of the remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Step 3

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Step 4

Roll dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut rectangle crosswise into 12 (1-inch) strips. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), wrap a leaf around middle of each dough strip, starting with the stem end. (Ends of breadsticks should not be covered by leaf.) Place breadsticks, leaf tips down, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush the breadsticks with melted butter; sprinkle with kosher salt. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Step 5

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 6

Bake breadsticks at 375° for 35 minutes or until browned on bottom and lightly browned on top. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. Serve with the sour cream, if desired.

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