Bacon-wrapped breadsticks dish is an amazing centerpiece which you can have with family or friends as a dinner party starter. Its gooey, melted cheese and crispy, golden bread will be the attractive detail for all the guests.
400g strong white flour
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 tsp golden caster sugar
2 tsp thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs for the cheese
1 tbsp light olive oil, plus extra for greasing
250g whole Camembert in a box
20 slices pancetta
Mix together the flour, yeast, mustard powder, 11/2 tsp fine salt, the sugar, thyme leaves and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Stir in 250ml lukewarm water, use your hands to bring together into a dough, then knead for 10 mins on a clean surface until it is smooth and elastic. If you have a tabletop mixer with a dough hook, use this instead and ‘knead’ for just 5 mins. Sit the dough in a large, clean bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave at room temperature for about 1 hr until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and line your largest baking tray with baking parchment. Sit the lid of your boxed Camembert in the centre of the tray.
Knead the dough back into a smooth ball, then use your fingers to make a hole through the centre. Steadily stretch the doughnut shape into a large ring until the centre hole is large enough to fit around the lid. The best way to do this is to swing the dough around your fingers, then hand, like a hula-hoop.
Sit the dough ring on the tray around the box lid. Use kitchen scissors to snip the dough ring into 20 strips, from the outside in, but leave a few millimeters of dough still connecting the strips together around the lid in the centre. If using the ready-to-eat pancetta slices, halve each one lengthways. Twist one of the 20 dough strips to make it longer and thinner like a breadstick, then wrap a pancetta slice in a spiral around it. Repeat with all the dough strips.
Your breadsticks might look a little higgledy-piggledy at the moment, so use kitchen scissors to snip the ends off any that need it to make an even, round shape, if you like (see tip below). Brush with a little light olive oil and bake for 15 mins.
Meanwhile, unwrap the Camembert and top with the thyme sprigs. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little more black pepper. Remove the breadsticks from the oven and sit the cheese inside the box lid, then bake for another 5 mins until the bread is golden and crispy, and the cheese molten.