Garlic knots are a delicious knot of bread filled with butter, garlic and basil. They make an excellent snack or a side for a meal. They are relatively simple to cook and are extremely moreish.
You Will Need:
- 2 Cups of Plain Flour
- 3 tsp of Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (extra virgin is tastiest but any olive oil will do)
- 2 tsp of Yeast
- A pinch of Sugar
- 1 Cup of Lukewarm Water
- 4 tbs of Butter
- Half a bulb of garlic (not to be confused with a single clove. I’m talking the whole bulb)
- A handful of Basil Leaves
- (Optional) Half a cup of Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese
First we start by making the dough. Place the yeast and sugar in a measuring cup and add the lukewarm water. Stir thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes.
COOK’S NOTES: The water MUST be lukewarm because the heat helps activate the yeast - which is actually a living organism and is what is going to make your bread like bread. However, if it’s too hot then you will murder the yeast and your dough will be heavy and unpleasant.
Get a mixer bowl and throw the flour and salt in. Add about 2tbs of olive oil (no need to measure it though) and then pour in about 3/4 of the yeast mixture. If you have a mixer with a dough hook then you can throw it in there until it has come together as a dough. However, I like the manual way so grab a spoon or knife and mix together until it’s separated into small lumps of wet dough. Tip the contents out onto the bench and knead together (if you’re using a mixer I recommend kneading by hand at the end also). Now, the dough may be too wet or too dry - it should be very pliable but not sticky - so add small amounts of water or flour as needed. You need to knead the dough until it becomes elastic; that is, if you push on it and let go it should spring back fairly quickly and it should have a smooth consistency. Once that’s done, put it back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise.
COOK’S NOTES: This dough recipe can be used to make pizza bases but is not really suitable for loaves of bread.
Here you can turn the oven on to 170C (338F). When the dough has risen melt the butter in a smallish bowl on a low temperature in the microwave. Now you need to peel the skins off the garlic so get something solid like a pestle or a jar and smash the clove. You could alternatively lay a knife on the clove and slam the heel of your hand down on it. The idea is to deform the clove so the the skin breaks and then it should just slip off. Now either process the garlic in a bar mix (which I call a whizzer…) or in a garlic crusher. Place in the butter bowl. Now slice the basil. A good tips for slicing leafy herbs is to bunch and squish the leaves together into a tight wad and then slice across that. Put these into the butter bowl and stir the lot together.
Now go and get the dough and roll it out to be as rectangular as possible and about 33x20 cm (13x9 in). Spread the garlic mixture over the dough evenly and sprinkle the cheese on top if you’re using it.
COOK’S NOTES: The two cheeses I suggested will have very different results. Mozzarella is for a cheesy texture and paramesan is for an added flavour.
Now simply fold the dough in half to sandwich the garlic in the middle and press it down lightly to sort of connect the halves. Now slice the dough into 2cm wide lengths (along the short side). Now all you have to do is pick up a length of dough at each end and quickly tie it into a basic knot then place it on a tray (preferably greased with olive oil). Because of the butter it is pretty slippery between the slices so the dough won’t stay together and stuff can drip out easily. If the knot is loose just push the dough together a bit on the tray so that it’s a lump. They don’t need to look uniform; they are a rustic style bread.
Put them in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. I never cook by times so keep an eye on them and when they are golden brown then you are all good! Enjoy some garlic knots!