In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the warm water, yeast, 1/ 2 teaspoon of sugar. Whisk on low until the yeast dissolves. Allow the yeast mixture to rest for at least 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the remaining sugar, salt, and melted butter. Remove the whisk attachment from the standing mixture and replace with a dough hook. Gradually add the bread flour, about a cup at a time at low speed.
When the mixture turns to dough, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Meanwhile, lightly oil a large bowl and set aside.
Place the dough in the lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch the center down. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Next, roll each piece into a 7-inch breadstick. Place the breadsticks on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or with a Silpat. Cover the breadsticks with a kitchen towel. Allow the breadsticks to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake the breadsticks for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Place the breadsticks on wire cooling racks. Using a pastry brush, brush the breadsticks with melted butter, and sprinkle them with garlic salt. Serve immediately!
Substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour if you do not have bread flour on hand. Bread flour will yield chewier copycat Olive Garden breadsticks due to higher protein content.
If you'd like to make your copycat Olive Garden breadsticks dairy-free, use a plant-based spread such as Earth Balance.
Purchase a non-stick silicone Silpat baking mat online.