Appetizers, Breads, Food & Wine, Home & Family, Kid Friendly Foods

Spicy Garlic Knots

So now you are basking in the glory of your homemade bread. What?!?!? You didn’t make the two day no-knead bread?!?!? Here is day one and day two in case you missed it. With you new found confidence let’s move on to another easy, but delicious recipe that is PERFECT for summer barbecues. Homemade Spicy Garlic Knots.

These light as air, savory yet spicy rolls are delicious to eat either as a dinner roll or sliced for your favorite burger. They are amazing surrounding a perfectly grilled piece of Ahi Tuna topped with subtle aioli and crisp endive. Use your imagination, they are versatile little yummies. I suggest using a mixer for this so you can spend your time doing other prep. I am going to give the mixer directions and underneath the by hand directions.

Mis en place for dough:

4 + cups of good bread flour (I use King Arthur)
2-1/4 tsps of instant yeast
1/2 tsp of bakers salt (or regular table salt)
1-1/2 cups warm water (about 90-95 degrees…baby bottle warm)
1 TBSP honey or sugar
1 TBSP Olive oil

Mis en place for garlic oil topping:

1/2 cup good olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper (I use a super fresh brand with lots of heat…use more or less to suit your taste)
1 tsp kosher salt
1TBSP Basil Chiffonade cut

Large mixing bowl
Mixing bowl or two for the rest and rise…see ***note***

Place the dry ingredients (reserve a cup of the flour) in the bowl of you mixer and give them a little stir with a spatula to combine. Make a well in the center and add the water. Attach the dough hook and proceed to stir until the dough becomes smooth, soft and elastic. I think it was Nancy Silverton (Of La Brea Bakery fame) that said it should feel like a babies behind. I swear…that is probably the perfect analogy. Baby skin=dough…crazy.

Knead in the mixer for a good five minutes. If it doesn’t look and feel like baby skin, adjust for dryness by adding sprinkles of warm water and adjust for wetness by adding reserved flour. This is one of the most important rules…follow the recipe, but don’t be afraid to make adjustments when you need to. After a few tries you’ll really start to get the hang of what it right and what is wrong.

Here it is in the “proofer” ***see note***

If you are mixing by hand:

Using a large bowl, follow the directions above and mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined. I use my hand for dough…and I sweep in flour from the outside into the inside with a counter clockwise motion. When your ingredients are combined place your dough onto a well floured surface and start kneading. I push the dough with the heel of my hand, flip it and push it again. It is a one hand procedure. If you dough is baby skin consistency it will be an easy process. You’ll need to keep this up for about 6-7 minutes, making your adjustments if needed.

Now we need to let our dough rest and rise you’ll want to turn your dough into a large mixing bowl or measuring container that has been generously greased with olive oil. ***note*** I have found that the perfect proofing box for dough in my kitchen is two of my 20 qt stainless steel salad bowls. I grease them both, place the dough in one bowl and invert the other to use as a cover. What you end up with is a sealed, draft free environment that is easy to clean and store.

Let your dough rise for about an hour. It should double in size.

Flour your table or work surface and gently lift your dough. I have made a double batch here and will make LARGE rolls as I was planning on making over sized stuffed burgers for the grill.

Give the dough a gently roll or two to form a cylinder about 15 inches long

Cut your dough first in the center, then in the center of each of the two you just made…

then in the centers on those…you will have 8 pieces of dough…

Notice these are not perfectly shaped beauty queen rolls…these are super fast rolls that will look and taste best if not overworked.

Grab a piece of dough and roll it gently on the table to make about a 12 inch rope.

Now grab that piece of dough and place one end across your palm and wrap around until the center meets the end you started with

and you have a “tail”

Now scoot that tail through the center and up through the other side…

This is what you will have

Place your knot onto a grease baking sheet and move on to the others…you’ll have 8 jumbo rolls when you are done.

Drizzle them lightly with Olive Oil and let them rest for a few minutes…they will fill in and rise again, but not double in size. This is just a rest for though dough so it can get itself together. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

When your oven is ready pop them in and bake for about 15 minutes. They will be golden brown and register 200 degrees with a probe thermometer. Take them out and let them site for 5 minutes. Mix together your oil and spices for the topping while you wait. When you are ready, dip a basting brush into the oil/ spice mixture (I use a silicone pastry brush) and gently dribble and brush the top of your rolls with the mixture. This is what you get:

Have fun with this recipe, it is wonderfully simple and yields terrific results every time. Your guests will be wowed that you care enough to go all out, but they take literally minutes to prepare. You can cut the dough into smaller pieces for smaller or appetizer sized rolls. These are perfect when topped with a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano Regianno and served with a wonderful pasta dinner too!




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