Garlic Knots

June 15, 2009 § 4 Comments

Just the thought of garlic knots makes me go “mmm.”  Garlic knots are similar to garlic ropes, sticks, or rolls, they’re just in knot shapes. Garlic knots are usually found at pizzerias or Italian restaurants.

You can find all sorts of garlic knot recipes on the Internet. Emeril Lagasse’s recipe has gotten great reviews. Like Emeril’s, many recipes use a pizza dough recipe. I chose to use the one by Besty Oppenneer since that’s the recipe I use for homemade pizza. I’ve had great success with it and why mess with a good thing, right?

Also, I finally figured out how to use my stand mixer to do all the kneading. I don’t really measure my flour to exact but rather add flour as the dough needs. This helps especially since the amount of flour may vary depending on the day (rainy, humid, dry, cold, hot). It took me a few times before I got really good at judging when to stop adding flour. I’ll try my best to describe it in the directions. I find trying to describe the process for yeast doughs tougher than describing other recipes.

I halved the recipe since I really didn’t want a bazillion knots. I mean I love these knots and all but there’s only so much I can eat. Besides, these are best eaten the day of. Depending on how you make your knots, this recipe can yield anywhere from 24 to 48 knots.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, follow the directions from the pizza dough recipe.

1/2 C unsalted butter
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp dry Italian seasoning 
1 Tbsp olive oil

For pizza dough:
1 (1/4 oz) package of active dry yeast (or 1 scant Tbsp)
1 1/4 C warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour

In the mixing bowl, add sugar, yeast and warm water. Let yeast soften (proof) for 5 minutes. The yeast should look foamy like the picture below. If not, then the yeast may have passed its expiration and you’ll need to start over with live active yeast (check the expiration date).

Add salt, oil and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Attach the paddle (not the dough hook yet) and mix on medium for 2 minutes (medium is usually Speed 4 on many models or Speed 3 on Kitchenaid Pro 6).

Turn the speed to low (stir) and add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time until dough starts to gather onto the paddle but then spreads back onto the bowl. The dough will look a bit tacky. Make sure all the flour has been combined after each addition before adding more flour. Error on the side of less flour at this stage. Don’t worry if the dough is not cleaning the side of bowl, which will be taken care of later. The dough will look something like below.

Scrape down the bowl and switch to the dough hook. Knead dough at medium-high (Speed 7-8 or Speed 6-7 on KA Pro 5) for 5 minutes. The dough will gather more and more onto the dough hook but will still stick a bit to the bowl. If the majority of the dough is still sticking to the bowl at about the 3-minute mark, add 1 tablespoon of flour. You may need to scrape the bowl down a bit to get all the flour incorporated. The majority of the dough should start to gather on the hook.

If you want to see a video of what I mean, I used my new camera’s HD video feature to tape a very short video of the dough at this point. The mixer sounds really loud in the video (sorry). It starts off slightly off-focused but the picture gets clearer.  You can see how the dough is still sticking to the bottom of the bowl but has gathered quite a bit onto the hook.

At the end of 5 minutes, the dough should be cleaning the side of the bowl. You should be able to see the difference in this second video.

If not, add 1 tablespoon of flour and knead until all the flour has incorporated. If dough still doesn’t clean bowl, continue to add 1 teaspoon of flour until it does. Again, error on the lesser side, you don’t want a tough or dry dough. It should be just a wee bit tacky to the the touch but you shouldn’t see any wetness on the surface. The surface should look smooth.

Using a bench scraper, put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl (picture above). Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover the bowl with a tightly woven towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. On a cooler day (anything below 70 degrees F), I usually put it in the oven with the oven light on, which will provide ample warmth. The risen dough should look like something below.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. You can use a rolling pin, or in my case, my fingers and hands, roll it into about 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Brush the top lightly with olive oil. Or you can use melted butter for an extra boost of buttery goodness. Cut strips crosswise into strips about 1″ wide. Then cut the strips in half, yielding strips that are 1″ wide by x 6″ long.  You can check out the King Arthur Blog for PJ Hamel’s recipe and her technique for making knots here.

I rolled each strip slightly with the palm of my hands. Tie each strip loosely into a knot. The dough is pretty forgiving so you can stretch it a bit.  To finish off the knot, bring one tail over and tuck into the center hole (going from right to left in the picture below).  Tuck the other tail under and into the hole on the backside. Place on baking sheets about 2-inches apart.

Cover the knots with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes. The knots will rise just a little bit during that time.

While knots are resting/rising, make the garlic butter. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Add minced garlic. Set aside and keep warm.

Bake until golden brown and risen, about 15-20 minutes, depending on how large your knots are. If you gently tap the bottom, it should sound hollow. Mine took about 16 minutes.

Brush knots with the garlic butter and as Hamel mentions, dredge the chopped garlic up from the bottom to brush on top. That’s where all the extra garlicky goodness will come from!  Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.

Can you see those little bits of “green” garlic? On this occassion, I put the garlic into the saucepan before the butter had melted and ended up cooking the garlic while the butter was melting. So the garlic cooked a bit more than before and turned green.  It’s just some chemical reaction that happens to garlic when reacting to certain things but it won’t affect the taste or cause ill-effect.

Here’s a shot of the inside. Light and airy, crunchy crust but soft and warm inside. These would go great with a dish of EVOO and balsamic vinegar for dipping, yum!

Have a terrific week, everyone!


§ 4 Responses to Garlic Knots

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