Soft Bread Machine Breadsticks—Olive Garden Clone

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Sneak Preview: Try these soft bread machine breadsticks (sprinkled with garlic) that are super easy to mix and knead with a bread machine. These are copycat olive garden breadsticks with a “twist.”

soft twisted garlic bread machine breadsticks with dipping oil

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How does the Olive Garden restaurant know my weakness for warm, soft, and garlicky bread? Also, they keep offering bread basket refills at no extra charge. It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya’.

Now I can make them with my bread maker and this simple recipe. No, this is not their authentic recipe. From my experience working in Research & Development for a nationwide pizza chain, I know large companies use products and formulations not available to the public. These secrets make it impossible to imitate exactly.

This recipe for Soft Bread Machine Breadsticks used to live on my post about converting traditional bread recipes for use in a bread machine.

📌 Bread Bakers Tip: You don’t have to twist the dough sticks if that seems too complicated. They are just as tasty untwisted but not as photogenic in my experience. It’s challenging to keep the untwisted ones even and straight without the benefit of a commercial cutter.📌


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Ingredients and substitutions:

  • WATER: Spring water is my first choice, then cool tap water.
  • MILK: Any milk regardless of the fat content is fine, but the higher the fat content, the softer the crumb.
  • OLIVE OIL: Substitute vegetable oil if olive oil is not available.
  • SALT: I use table salt or sea salt. Add 1/4 teaspoon extra if using Kosher salt.
  • SUGAR: The recipe specifies granulated white sugar. I have tried nothing else.
  • FLOUR: Bread flour is my preference, but you can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • YEAST: Instant yeast (interchangeable with bread machine or rapid-rise yeast) is the only yeast I buy. If you use active dry yeast, add 1/4 teaspoon extra—it can be slower to rise.
  • GARLIC: The recipe calls for fresh garlic in the form of chopped garlic clove (not a pod). However, if you are fresh out, you could sprinkle the baked breadsticks with garlic powder.
  • UNSALTED BUTTER: You will only use butter in the glaze. If you only have salted butter, you might consider whether you want to skip sprinkling the extra salt on top of the breadsticks. Your call.
ingredients needed to make soft garlic bread sticks.

How to use a bread maker to make these bread machine breadsticks:

1. Dump all of the ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order listed: Liquids or wet ingredients, the salt, sugar, and fat next, then flour (please weigh the flour, if possible), and last, the yeast. Although nothing should be icy cold, they don’t need to be warm either.

2. Select the DOUGH setting and press START. We aren’t using the basic bread cycle because we won’t be using the bread machine to bake our breadsticks.

3. After the bread has been kneading for a few minutes, open the lid and take a peek. This is the most important thing you can do when using a bread machine. Make adjustments according to the directions below.

judging cpnsistency of dough in a bread machine
The dough should form a tacky ball that sticks to the edge, then pulls away cleanly. If the dough is too wet, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time. Allow time between each addition for the dough to absorb and work it in.

4. Remove the dough from the bread machine pan to a lightly floured surface. Shape breadsticks by hand as shown below and place them onto a prepared baking sheet or greased cookie sheet.

5. Allow breadsticks to rise until almost double.

6. Brush with the buttery glaze and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown.

How to roll out breadstick dough:

how to roll out soft garlic sticks
  1. Remove the dough from the bread pan onto a floured surface.
  2. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape each into a ball.
  3. Roll each dough ball into a 7 x 9-inch rectangle.
  4. Cut each rectangle into 8 sticks. (A pizza cutter works great for this job.)
  5. Twist each stick, if desired.
  6. Place the dough sticks on a baking tray that has been greased or covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set the covered breadsticks in a warm place to rise until they are almost double their original size.

FAQ for garlic and butter breadsticks like those at Olive Garden:

How can I get the breadsticks to stay twisted?

After twisting the dough strips, cover them with a tea towel. Walk away for about 10 minutes. This downtime will allow the dough to relax and hold the twist. If any of the strips unravel, re-twist and press down on them slightly.

What is the best way to store this bread?

Keeping homemade bread fresh is always a challenge since we don’t add preservatives. That’s one reason we all love homemade bread. I try not to make much more than we can eat in one sitting.

If there are leftovers, I recommend you keep them in a sealed plastic bag. But don’t try to keep them in your freezer longer than a month.

Does garlic affect the yeast?

Not in this recipe. You’ll only find garlic in the glaze, not the dough.

Can I bake breadsticks in my bread maker?

No. You can try baking the dough as a loaf, but I don’t recommend it. The crust would most likely be like cardboard, especially on the sides and bottom of the loaf.

Is the dough for these breadsticks the same as pizza dough or pretzels?

They are very close. This recipe would make good pizza dough (although this is my favorite pizza dough recipe) or pretzels. If you decide to make pretzels, dip the shaped dough into a baking soda and salt water solution to achieve the dark brown shiny surface and unique flavor of pretzels.

How long with these breadsticks stay fresh?

They are best eaten the day you make them, just like donuts or pretzels. If you want to make the dough the day before, store it in a large covered container after the DOUGH cycle ends. The next day, let the dough sit on the counter to warm up. Then shape the dough and let it get puffy before you bake the bread stick as directed in the recipe.

Can I sprinkle anything else on top of these breadsticks?

Instead of the Italian seasoning, we like fresh Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped rosemary, dried minced onion, garlic powder, or everything-but-the-bagel seasoning.

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Parting Thoughts: If these breadsticks are too fussy for you, I recommend this extremely popular recipe for Crusty French Bread (Mixed in a Bread Machine). After baking the loaf, slice it down the middle the long way and use the garlic butter mixture to cover the inside cut edges. Toast under the broiler while you watch.

If you’re a beginning bread machine baker, start here: How To Use a Bread Machine: The Most Important Tip (+Video). You’ll learn about the most important technique you should follow every time you make bread in a bread machine.


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula


Soft Bread Machine Breadsticks Recipe

This bread machine recipe for yeasted garlic breadsticks tastes similar to the ones at Olive Garden.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Mix and Rise Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Savory Bread Machine Loaves and Yeast Rolls
Servings 16 breadsticks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lukewarm water - 227 gr
  • 2 tablespoons milk - 28 gr
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil - 27 gr
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon table salt - 7 gr
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar - 13 gr
  • 3 cups bread flour - 360 gr
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast - 6 gr

BUTTERY GLAZE:

  • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter - 43 gr
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • PInch sea salt or Kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Place 1 C lukewarm water (227 gr), 2 T milk (28 gr), 2 T olive oil (27 gr), 1-1/4 t table salt (7 gr), 1 T granulated sugar (13 gr) 3 C bread flour (360 gr) and 2 t instant yeast (6 gr) into bread machine pan saving back 1/4 cup of the water. Select the DOUGH cycle.
  • Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. Do this right after the machine starts to see if the paddles are correctly engaged. 
    Recheck the consistency of the dough again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add 1+ tablespoons of the water you held back until the dough looks just right. Find out more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape it into two balls. Roll out each ball into a 7 x 9-inch rectangle. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes. Use a pizza cutter or large sharp knife to cut each rectangle into 8 strips. See the picture above.
  • Twist each strip to disguise imperfections and place them side-by-side on a greased baking pan or one covered with baking paper or a silicone mat. (See the notes if your breadsticks try to unravel.)
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
  • Allow the breadsticks to rise until puffy and not quite double the original size.
  • Mix the ingredients for the glaze and brush it on the unbaked bread sticks. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 15-16 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Some people like to brush the breadsticks with butter again after they come out of the oven. Suit yourself.

Video

Notes

Kitchen tip for twisted rolls: Try not to twist the dough too many times or too tightly when shaping the breadsticks. Only 2-3 twists at the most, are needed. Also, if the dough is too thick, it will most certainly unravel while rising. Sometimes, when they are stubborn, I press down on the whole twist with the palm of my hand to “imprint” the shape.
If all else fails, walk away and let the dough relax for a few minutes. It will behave better when you return.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Soft Bread Machine Breadsticks Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 breadstick
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
128
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
6
mg
2
%
Sodium
 
57
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
19
g
6
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Savory Bread Machine Loaves and Yeast Rolls
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipe, bread sticks, Olive Garden clone, yeast rolls
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. I feel like you are missing baking instructions?

    1. Hi Brigitte,
      Sometimes, the instructions for a recipe disappear mysteriously. However, I just looked and I see them where they should be–after the ingredients. Sometimes there is an ad between them. Take another look and if you still can’t find them, let me know and I will email you the recipe by itself.

  2. Do I let the dough prove in the bread machine and then roll it out, cut it, and let the sticks prove until puffy? Or do I take the dough out as soon as it is mixed and only let it prove once I cut it into sticks?

    1. Hi Amy,

      Do the first thing you said. Let the dough prove in the bread machine. Then, roll it out, shape, and let rise until puffy before you bake in your conventional oven. Wish I could help you eat them.

  3. 5 stars
    These breadsticks are gorgeous. I froze half of them at the roll out stage took them out later and let them rise at room temperature before cooking. My family reckon the batch that had been frozen were even better than the unfrozen batch. Kids are even placing orders for them now

    1. Thank you, Julia
      That’s fantastic news. I’ve never tried freezing the unbaked sticks of dough so I’m glad to hear it works. Other readers will also be glad you took the time to share that tip with us.

  4. 5 stars
    I made these today and they were delicious.

    Two things I noticed — 1. Where I am seems extremely dry so I had to add extra water to the recipe, and even then the dough came out a bit thick (this has been happening to all my recipes this winter). This made twisting a bit difficult.

    And 2. I baked one batch on the middle rack of my oven, giving them a crispier outside, and I baked one batch on the top rack which gave a softer more even bake. Both were great, so this might be a good thing to note for anyone who has a preference for one over the other.

    1. Hi Matthias,
      It sounds like you’ve got the hang of adding more liquid or flour to your recipes as necessary. Weather affects bread more than many people give it credit. If you let the breadsticks rest (10-15 minutes?) after you cut them and before you try to twist them, it helps. Of course, you don’t have to twist them at all–just leave them straight.

      Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience with baking your breadsticks. I’m sure other readers will find it helpful. Ovens can be so different from each other depending on the manufacturer, size, age, etc. You really have to know your oven.

  5. 5 stars
    Well I am here yet again to leave 5 stars for these awesome sticks! I struggled a bit with the twist and confused myself on the water measurements, but a lil extra flour when I peaked fixed the problem. Despite my mistakes these babies were super DELISH!! I froze half and take what I need when needed and I think they actually taste better cause the flavor is sealed in??? Anyway Thanks, I’m making more today!I think I will maybe throw in a pic next!

    1. Hi Teri,
      Congrats on your delicious rolls. I’m so glad to hear the little peeking trick helped you recover.

  6. Christine S says:

    I tried to view the pictures but could not. I took off privacy mode, I went to the mobile side and I went to the desktop site but I cannot see the pictures. Not sure what’s up. So can you tell me if the breadsticks are touching like the dinner rolls do once they rise a second time? Thanks.

    1. I’m sorry you can’t see the pictures. I will check it out. Meanwhile, it is hard to say if the rolls will touch because it depends on how tight you twist them and how long they are. The rolls should be nice and puffy. They might touch and they might not.

  7. Heather B says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe turned out amazing! So soft and everyone loved them! Used half and half as my milk. Beautiful and delicious! Bread machine did most of the work. Thanks for sharing.