When I first saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to how intricate the breads looked. Now usually, intricate would mean hard work, but if there’s anything I learned in the world of baking it’s that there is so much more than meets the eye: a simple recipe could produce something marvelous that looks like it took forever to make; or a simple-looking dessert or pastry could have required a difficult technique that only the most experienced of chefs can execute. I happen to think this one falls into the former category.
What I loved most about these breads, aside from how they look, is how fluffy they actually are when you eat them. They are soft and chewy, easy to pull apart, and they remain that way for days. I’m sure the bread flour plays a part in it. My favourite way to eat them is when they are hot from the toaster, slightly crunchy on the outside. The breads are brushed with a butter-dried herb seasoning-garlic mixture before baking, which is basically where the flavour comes from.
In hindsight, my garlic knots look a little paler than what I would have preferred. I should have baked them a few minutes longer (next time for sure!), or maybe brushed them with egg wash for a darker colouring. But the insides are perfectly cloud-like and scrumptious. The breads puff up real good, and beautifully I might add.
Until I made this recipe, I never thought making knotted breads could be so much fun, and so simple. I absolutely cherished the part of making the knots that I even made a little picture tutorial to encourage you all to join in on the fun! 🙂
My only complaint is that these weren’t nearly garlic-y enough compared to what I wanted and was expecting. So I went looking for another recipe for garlic knots that would pack a stronger garlic punch and came across a whole wheat version with a promising topping.
This one had parsley and loads of garlic on it, plus the presence of the greens make the knots look so much prettier. I made this recipe a few days after we finished the previous garlic knot recipe, simply because I loved knotting the dough so much! This recipe was also good in its own right, needing only a fork and a bowl to form the dough. Then I kneaded the dough on my work-surface– always a therapeutic exercise! The presence of the whole wheat flour maybe made these breads a little less puffy and just slightly denser.
I waited until my little knots browned this time before taking them out of the oven. I did enjoy this whole wheat bread, however I must admit that I like the texture of the garlic knots made with bread flour is so much better, which is why I have chosen to share that recipe here.
I’m introducing a new regular portion for my recipe posts which I will build up into something better eventually (I’m open to suggestions), but for now I’m calling it Just so you know:
- When is the best time to make this recipe? No occasion necessary. These are perfect as everyday breakfast rolls.
- Anything special we should know about before attempting this recipe? When making breads like these, the dough is ready when it is slightly sticky to the touch, but not sticky enough that it clings to your finger when you pull away. Remember that you want the dough to still be slightly tacky and feel just a little wet to the touch. If you add too much flour, the resulting bread will be tough, so don’t be tempted to keep adding flour to make the dough really smooth. The more you make yeast breads, the more you’ll be able to tell a tacky-but-not-too-sticky dough. 🙂
- Would I change anything from this recipe? I would go for a less buttery, more flavourful/garlic-y topping next time, with a pinch more Italian Seasoning, a bit of fresh basil or cilantro, and a clove or two more garlic. Also, I would make the rolls a little smaller, yielding 12 instead of 10.
Soft Garlic Knots
Makes 10 to 12 knotted breads
For the dough
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspooons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teasoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
For the glaze
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
To make the dough
- 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a shaggy dough.
- 2. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not sticky enough that bits of dough will adhere to your finger when you pull away. Add half tablespoonfuls of flour as necessary if dough is still too sticky to manage. Remember that you want the dough to still be slightly tacky and feel just a little wet to the touch for best results.
- 3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- 4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 or 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot.
- 5. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center.
- 6. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center.
- 7. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- 8. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, or until puffy.
To make the glaze
- 9. Finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.
- 10. Towards the end of the bread's rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the glaze generously unto the risen rolls.
- 11. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.