Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Garlic Knots

My husband and I have a great tradition we call "wine and cheese night".  Every now and then we forgo the usual weekend restaurant trip to stay at home, pop open a bottle of wine, try a new kind of cheese, munch on olives, and break a nice loaf of bread.  We had a wine and cheese night last Friday.  Usually we pick out a loaf of bread from the store, but this particular day I decided I was going to make my own.  I am getting so brave!  

I searched high and low for the perfect bread to make.  It had to be something flavorful, but something that complemented the cheese we were having.  I settled on these Garlic Knots.  While it's not a loaf of bread, I figured it would do the trick. And indeed, it did.

Like every bread I have made, these were not as hard to make as I thought they would be.  This dough came together nicely and I didn't have any problems working it.  I love it when things go right!  The original recipe called for fresh parsley.  I didn't have any fresh parsley, and I think dried parsley tastes like alfalfa.  For those of you who didn't spend your summers raking hay on your father's farm, here's what alfalfa is.  So I used Italian seasoning instead because that sounded good with garlic.  And I like to pretend I am in Italy on wine and cheese night!

So if you are feeling adventurous, let's make some garlic knots!  First, measure out some flour into a medium bowl.
Combine the water, oil, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl (or measuring cup!).  I recommend using a thermometer to make sure the water is the right temperature.  You don't want to kill your yeast with water that is too hot, but you want it to be hot enough to wake 'em up!
Stir the wet mixture into your bowl of flour to combine.  At this point you really just want to mix it until the dough starts to come together. 
Form the dough into a ball and move it to a floured surface.  Knead it a little bit.  I usually do this in my stand mixer with a dough hook, but since this didn't have to be kneaded until the sun went down I did it the old-fashioned way.  It was kind of fun!
Here is my post-kneading dough.
After kneading, let the dough rise until it is doubled in size.  This took about an hour for me.  When the dough is ready, flour your surface again and roll the dough into a 5x16" rectangle.  I just used my hands to shape the dough, which is probably why it looks a little rough!  And I couldn't tell you what a 5x16" rectangle looks like if my life depended on it, so I busted out a ruler to measure it. 
The next step is to cut the dough into 3/4" strips.  Since I already had my ruler out, I went ahead and scored the dough with a knife at measured intervals.  
Then I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips.  Easy!
Now you need to roll the strips into even ropes, and tie them into little dough knots.  The ropes are supposed to be 5 inches long.  I found that when I picked my strips up they stretched.  When I rolled them into even ropes they stretched.  Then when I tied them into knots they stretched again.  So by that time they were way longer than 5 inches, and the ends stuck out from the knots.  To fix this, I folded my strips in half before rolling them into ropes.  They ended up being 5 inches by the time I tied them so it worked for me.  Place them on a baking sheet.  Preferably it would be lined with parchment paper.  I was out.  I found that the rolls stuck a little bit without it, but not horribly.  It was not the end of the world.   
Now put these guys in a warm place for about an hour to let them rise again.  I went to the store and bought some parchment paper.  I'll be more prepared next time I promise.  
Here are my little rolls, all grown up.
Bake them until they are just golden brown.  These were nice and soft on the inside, but still had a crispy crust.  Perfect!
Whip up the coating while the knots are baking and then spread it on while they are still warm.  Eat as many as you can right out of the oven, because they were so much better fresh than they were as leftovers.  Enjoy!

Garlic Knots
For the Dough:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
7 oz warm water (about 115 degrees F)
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ tablespoons active dry yeast
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Garlic Coating:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
Measure the flour into a large bowl; set aside. Combine the water, olive oil, yeast, sugar and salt in a large, 4-cup measuring cup or in a small bowl, mixing to dissolve the yeast. Pour the water mixture over the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two, adding additional flour or water if the dough it is too sticky or dry, until soft and just slightly tacky. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size (this can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours).
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Working on a pastry mat or clean counter or table, oil the surface, your hands and a rolling pin. Gently press down on dough, flipping it over and doing the same, to release gasses and flatten it. Using the rolling pin or your hands, shape the dough into a rectangle measuring about 5 inches by 16 inches, and ½-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, slice the rectangle into 5-inch by ¾-inch strips.
Sprinkle the strips with flour. Taking the strips one at a time, gently roll it back and forth to create an even rope. Tie it into a knot and place on a prepared baking sheet. Place the knots about 1½ inches apart. Continue to make the rest of the knots. Cover the baking sheets with a dry kitchen towel or cheesecloth and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise. The rolls should double in size during the second rise.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the knots have doubled in size, remove the towel covering them and bake, one pan at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
While the knots are baking, prepare the garlic coating. Over low heat, warm the olive oil, butter and garlic in a small saucepan. Add the Italian seasonings, cover and set aside.
After removing the knots from the oven and while they are still warm, either brush them with the garlic coating, or place the knots in a large bowl and toss with the garlic coating. Season with additional sea salt to taste.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Baked rolls can be individually wrapped and frozen in an airtight freezer bag. Rewarm in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 minutes.
Yields about 20 garlic knots.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker


  1. "Knots" are my favorite kind of rolls...I need to be brave like you and try to make a batch! Your garlic version sounds wonderful~