Wow, I think I’ve found my new favorite sourdough recipe of all time. You guys. It is so easy and oh so delicious. These cheesy sourdough breadsticks get gobbled up every time I make them. They are incredibly tasty and the perfect beginner sourdough recipe. Think: simple sourdough dough mixed together, fermented for a few hours and then topped with freshly shredded cheese and herbs. Bake these up and enjoy the melty goodness of cheesy sourdough breadsticks. My kids love them. I love them. If you have some ripe sourdough starter sitting around, what are you waiting for…go make them and let me know what you think!
Cheesy Sourdough Breadsticks Sample Schedule
Because sourdough takes much longer than bread made with commercial yeast, a sourdough schedule helps me plan my bake. This sample schedule assumes you are using a ripe/active sourdough starter and keeping your dough at a temperature of 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
|8:00 AM||Mix Levain|
|11:00 AM||Mix Breadstick Dough|
|11:15 AM||Bulk Fermentation (78 degrees F)|
|3:15 PM||Shape onto sheet pan and top with cheese/herbs|
|3:30 PM||Proof for 1 hour|
Important Ingredients in Cheesy Sourdough Breadsticks
Ripe sourdough starter: Make sure your sourdough starter is ripe and active. It will be bubbly, doubled in size and have a slightly sour aroma. I use this to make a levain, but if you have 140 grams of active, bubbly starter, you can use that in place of the levain and save yourself a little time.
Bread Flour: I use good quality bread flour in this recipe. You can substitute all purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour on hand.
Salt: That little bit of salt is so important in recipes. It helps balance the flavors. Don’t leave it out.
Sugar: This helps activate the yeast just a bit more. It doesn’t make the bread taste sweet. You can leave it out if you want.
Olive Oil: Use a good quality olive oil for this recipe. I prefer one that doesn’t have too strong of a flavor.
Garlic/Herb Seasoning: Use any favorite seasoning (I’ve used truffle and parmesan and regular garlic/herb).
Mozzarella Cheese: Good quality mozzarella is going to be the key to these sourdough cheesy breadsticks. SHRED the cheese yourself. This makes sure that all the extra additives in the pre-shredded cheese aren’t in your breadsticks. The cheese will melt better and taste delicious. I can’t say enough good things about shredding your own cheese!
Parmesan Cheese: Good quality parmesan (I’ve found that using pre-shredded parmesan works okay for this one).
Looking for Sourdough Help?
Levain or Sourdough Starter?
I almost always use a levain method when making sourdough. You can read all about that here. For this recipe, though, if I happen to have 140 grams of sourdough starter on hand and it’s ripe, I will use it in place of the levain. If you don’t have that much ripe sourdough starter, make a levain.
- 50 grams ripe sourdough starter
- 50 grams flour
- 50 grams water
Mix together those ingredients, cover and keep at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The levain should be ready in about 3 to 4 hours.
Mix Cheesy Sourdough Breadstick Dough By Hand
Part of the ease of this recipe is in the mixing. To a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ripe levain, water, flour, sugar and salt. I like mixing it up with my danish dough whisk so it doesn’t get all over my fingers, but any wooden spoon will do as well. Use your hands to knead it until it forms a round cohesive ball (maybe 15-20 kneads). And that’s it! Cover the dough and that’s about all the hands-on time this dough requires.
Cover the dough and let it sit at warm room temperature for about 3-4 hours (78 degrees is the key here). If your temperature is not as warm, you can let the dough sit out a little longer…up to 5 hours if needed. If you want to stick it in the refrigerator after this bulk fermentation period, that works too. If you choose to refrigerate the dough, make sure you give it proper time to warm up when shaping. All that to say, this dough is very adaptable and very difficult to mess up.
Shaping Cheesy Sourdough Breadsticks
Now for the fun part! Grab a baking sheet and put a couple Tablespoons of oil down on the pan. You will want it to coat the whole pan. This will make the crust nice and crispy when you’re baking the breadsticks. Some of my photos show parchment paper under the breadsticks. I’ve tried it with and without parchment but prefer NOT using the parchment for a crispier crust. Stretch the dough out on top of the oiled pan, pulling and stretching it into a rectangle. If the dough resists, let it sit for a minute for the gluten to relax and then stretch it again. Once the dough is mostly in a rectangular shape, spread another 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the breadsticks. Sprinkle the garlic/herb seasoning over the top of the olive oil and then coat with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Proof and Bake
Let those breadsticks hang out and warm up just a bit at that same 78 degree Fahrenheit temperature for about an hour. The longer you let them proof, the more fluffy they will be. These breadsticks are not meant to be super fluffy – more of a delicious vehicle for all that melty/crispy cheese – but you decide how you prefer them. During this hour of proofing, place a baking stone in the oven (this gets the breadsticks crispy on the bottom) and preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is preheated, place the pan of breadsticks on the pizza stone and bake for about 15 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside and tender/soft on the inside. Enjoy dipped in marinara sauce or devour them plain. They are good either way!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I substitute for the garlic and herb seasoning? I don’t have any on hand.
Garlic/Herb Seasoning: Use whatever seasoning you want. Whatever seasoning combination you use will come through on the breadsticks. If you don’t have any seasoning you can mix up: 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix together and use in place of the garlic/herb seasoning.
Do I have to bake sourdough breadsticks on a baking stone?
You don’t have to. I have baked them on top of a baking stone/pizza stone and just on the rack. The ones baked on the pizza stone got more crispy on the bottom on and around the edges. If you don’t care about perfectly crispy edges, go ahead and leave the pizza stone out.
How do I store leftover cheesy sourdough breadsticks?
If you happen to have any leftover, stick them in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days. Re-heat in an oven or air fryer to crisp them up the next day. Or just warm in the microwave a bit if you like them soft and warm.
More Sourdough Recipes Here:
Cheesy Sourdough Breadsticks
- 50 grams ripe sourdough starter
- 50 grams water see recipe notes on temperature
- 50 grams all purpose flour
- 140 grams ripe levain 100% hydration
- 170 grams water see recipe notes on temperature
- 300 grams bread flour
- 6 grams granulated sugar about 1 teaspoon
- 5 grams salt about 1 teaspoon
Sourdough Breadstick Toppings
- 52 grams olive oil about 4 Tablespoons
- 1 Tablespoon garlic herb seasoning see recipe note
- 200 grams shredded mozarella cheese about 2 cups, see recipe note
- 50 grams shredded parmesan cheese about 1/2 cup, see recipe note
- Mix together 50 grams ripe sourdough starter with 50 grams flour and 50 grams water. Cover and let sit for about 3 hours at 76-78 degrees F. The levain is ready to use when it has doubled in size and is very bubbly and active.
Cheesy Sourdough Breadsticks
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ripe levain, water, bread flour, sugar and salt. You can use your hands, a spoon or my favorite danish dough whisk.
- Bulk Fermentation: Let the dough rise for 3.5-4 hours until puffed up, elastic and soft. Keeping the dough at a consistent 76-78 degree F temperature is optimal for fermentation and means the dough will be ready in 3.5-4 hours.
- Prepare a half sheet rimmed baking sheet by spreading 2 Tablespoons of olive oil on the pan. Tilt the pan around until the whole sheet pan is lightly covered in olive oil.
- Shape Dough: Take the lightly risen dough and pull/shape it into a rectangle. Use your fingers to spread it out on the sheet pan. If the dough resists, let it sit for a few minutes and try to stretch it again, doing your best not to rip the dough.
- Once the dough is mostly in a rectangular shape–it doesn't have to be perfect–spread 2 Tablespoons olive oil over the top of the breadsticks. Sprinkle the garlic herb seasoning on top of the olive oil and then sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Proof: Place the sheet pan of breadsticks in a warm (76-78 degree F) place for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Bake: During this hour, place a baking stone in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Preheat for about 30 minutes before baking the breadsticks. Place the pan of breadsticks on top of the baking stone. Bake for about 15 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside and soft/delicious on the inside. Enjoy warm!