Let me preface this post with a few words –
1. I am so excited to be guest posting!
2. I know nothing about making bread.
A few months ago, I bought a KitchenAid mixer and a lifetime supply of yeast at Costco, and I’ve been pretending to know what I’m doing ever since. With that being said, this is a perfect starter recipe to get your feet wet in bread-baking — it is both incredibly simple and forgiving (you can find the original recipe here). I made these to go alongside Shrimp Scampi (yum), but they would be a great addition to pretty much any meal, I promise. Please excuse the lack of preparation pictures (I underestimated how difficult it would be to maneuver a camera and bake at the same time, seriously impressive).
Important Note: If you decide to split up the assembly and baking process, just because you turn up your car heater on full blast, it won’t be warm enough for your garlic knots to rise on the drive to your friends’ house. Instead, they will be flat and you will be sweating profusely. It will also be very difficult to balance the two trays of knots, the sloppily covered bowl of garlic sauce, drive, and talk on your phone. Not that I talk on my phone while driving. That’s illegal.
For the dough, you will need:
1 ¾ cups warm water (heat it in the micro for about a minute to get it nice and warm)
¼ cup olive oil
1 t sea salt
1 T sugar (I used Splenda because I don’t eat refined sugar, I choose to kill myself with chemical sugar substitutes instead)
1 ½ T Active Dry Yeast
5 ½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
Combine the water, olive oil, salt, sugar and yeast together in a large bowl. Swirl together to mix the yeast, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to let it thoroughly dissolve. Add first 4 cups of flour, mix, and gradually add the last 1.5 cups until you have a dough that is pretty sticky – you don’t knead this dough, just loosely combine until there are no streaks of flour.
Cover the bowl with a dish towel and leave it in a warm place to proof until the dough has doubled in size (this should take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen – I only gave mine about 30 minutes because I was rushing to Lauren and Chrissy’s, oops).
Tip for helping dough rise: I like to heat the oven to about 400° and leave the bowl on the stovetop, after the oven has been on for a few minutes the stovetop gets nice and toasty. If you don’t want to run the oven, a sunny spot in the kitchen or next to the dryer or something will also work – just make sure the dough is slightly above room temperature.
After the dough is done rising, if it is a little too sticky to handle, put it in the fridge to chill for a half hour or so. You can also keep it in the fridge for a few days if you want to prepare the dough in advance.
Oil your hands and your working surface. I put a layer of foil down and then a few layers of parchment, which worked out great, but you can also do this directly on the counter – the grout on my counter is creepy, so I err on the side of caution. Grab a handful of dough and press it down into a rough rectangle approximately ½ inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into strips. Roll the strips to create ropes (I left them in strips to create flatter, more crunchy rolls, but make ropes if you want your rolls to be more doughy) and tie them into a knot, place on a lined or greased cookie sheet. If you’re having difficulty with your knots, use flour to help the dough from sticking to itself.
Continue until all the dough is gone, and cover the knots loosely with a towel, leaving to rise until they double in size again.
While they are rising, you can prepare the garlic coating:
1/8 cup olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, finely crushed
¼ cups finely chopped parsley
I ran all the ingredients through a food processor and re-heated it in the microwave when the knots were almost done baking, but the original recipe suggests heating the coating in a saucepan; if you cook the garlic in the oil and butter, it will have less of a bite – I skipped this step and really liked the extra flavor.
Pop the cookie sheets in the oven (preheated to 400°) for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. I pulled them out about 2 minutes before they were done to brush some of the garlic sauce on them, but you can also wait until after they are completely cooked.
Sprinkle sea salt on top for an extra burst of flavor. Yummmm. I think I speak for all three of us when I say these were a perfect addition to the shrimp scampi.
Thanks, Lauren and Chrissy, for letting me share! Next time we can tackle a whole loaf of bread.
Visiting the Little Yellow Kitchen,