Garlic Knots

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

“Got knots?” Simply Recipes contributor Hank Shaw does, and boy are they good. Enjoy! ~Elise

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, one of my absolute favorite after-school treats would be to walk over to Ferraro’s, dig through my pockets for loose change and buy some garlic knots — garlicky, buttery rolls made from stray bits of pizza dough. At 25 cents apiece, I could buy a lotta knots with a little change.

Garlic knots are a pizzeria favorite, and in New Jersey, their presence was a sign that the pizza joint you just walked into was legit.

Making knots is a thrifty way to use scraps of dough and the leftover garlic-butter-parsley sauce most pizzerias would use for their white pizzas or garlic bread.

Over the years I’ve seen people make gigantic garlic knots the size of croissants, but that seems weird to me. The knots of my youth could fit into the palm of your hand with ease. Eating eight of them at a sitting was no trouble at all.

Garlic Knots

What are they like? Crusty on the outside, light as air within. Chewy, and almost sour—most garlic knots I remember were made with old pizza dough that was already thinking about fermenting.

The garlic-soaked butter (some places used olive oil) got all over your hands; I’d smell like Ferraro’s for hours after eating them, and if I didn’t finish my supper that night my mom would know why.

A big basket of garlic knots is a great party treat, and is pretty easy to make if you use premade pizza dough. Be warned: Make twice as many as you think you’ll need.

You’ll find yourself reaching for another without thinking, and so will your guests. And if you have a New Jersey native in the house, make a triple batch. I ate half of this recipe at one sitting.

Garlic Knots Recipe

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  • Prep time: 3 hours
  • Cook time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 20 knots

It is perfectly OK to use store-bought pizza dough here. One 14-ounce package of pizza dough will approximate this recipe.

Ingredients

If you are making your own dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

If you are using store-bought pizza dough:

  • 14-ounces pizza dough

Garlic-Butter Coating:

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

If you are making your own dough, follow steps 1-3. If using store-bought pizza dough, let thaw to room temperature and proceed to step 4.

1 Proof the yeast: Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir to combine and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth a bit.

2 Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil, then the yeast-water mixture.

Mix this together to form a soft dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. (Can use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook for this step.)

3 Let the dough rise: Shape the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Put it in a large bowl, top the bowl with plastic wrap and set it at room temperature to rise to double its size. This should take anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours.

4 Quarter the dough and flatten into rectangles: When the dough has doubled in size, cut it in half. Set out a large baking sheet and line it with a silpat or parchment paper. Take one half of the dough and cut it in half.

Working with one piece at a time, flatten into a rough rectangle about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick.

5 Slice into strips and form knots: Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Cut these strips in half.

garlic-knots-method-1 garlic-knots-method-2

Take one piece and work it into a snake, then tie it in a knot. The dough will be sticky along the cut edges, so dust these with flour before you tie the knot.

garlic-knots-method-3 garlic-knots-method-4

Set each knot down on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Remember that the dough will rise, so leave some space between each knot.

6 Brush with olive oil and let sit to rise: Once all the knots are tied, paint them with a little olive oil.

garlic-knots-method-5 garlic-knots-method-6

Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or so. Toward the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 400°.

7 Bake the knots: Uncover the knots and bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

garlic-knots-method-7 garlic-knots-method-8

8 Make garlic butter parsley glaze: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot and cook the garlic gently in it just long enough to take off that raw garlic edge, about 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the salt and parsley and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.

garlic-knots-method-9 garlic-knots-method-10

9 Brush cooked knots with garlic parsley butter mixture: When the knots are done, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Paint with the garlic-butter-parsley mixture and serve. These are best warm, but are good at room temperature, too.

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Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

Links:

Garlic knots from White on Rice Couple

Spicy Sriracha Garlic Knots - also from White on Rice Couple

Garlic Knots

Showing 4 of 44 Comments

  • Teresa Pita

    I made this garlic knobs ,all my friend loved them and I did too!! Deliciosos!!

  • Maria

    I just made these but, because I’m a glutton, I stuffed some of them with grated cheese and some smoked turkey, which I had on hand. Both versions were good. So good. Thank you for this!

  • Paul

    So i just stumbled apon this lovely recipe and decided that ill make it im 15 and i followed all the steps and i did it alone and i know im need supervision from an adult but my mom trusted me enough to do it on my own and they turned out very good and i loved how hood they were a must have kept recipe

  • sm

    Just came across this heavenly looking recipe.. Do you think it will be fine to do the recipe times 4 or5? Or is it better to do two separate double batches? Gono a be a big party;)

  • James

    Mine came out really hard on the outside. Any ideas why? I used all-purpose flour and also did not let them rise for the full 90 mins each time. I let the dough rise for about 75 mins. Once I made them into knots, I only let them rise for about 15 mins. Could that be the problem? Sorry for the ignorance, I’ve never attempted these before :)

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