Butter, Garlic, Goodness


If you ever host a Shabbat meal or a dinner party, there are always special added touches that make things extra special. For me, one of those things is homemade bread. Rolls, challah, foccacia, are all nice, but garlic knots? Now those will disappear before your eyes in seconds.

The dough is a basic simple yeast dough, the garlic is added in in the topping – with butter or olive oil to give an added punch of flavor. Butter will help the garlic adhere easier to the little knots, since as it cools to room temperature it will get a little more solid, but olive oil is just as tasty.

Garlic knots: Makes about 20

3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

1/4 cup butter or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix together the water, olive oil, salt and sugar. Add the flour on top, then sprinkle the yeast on top of the flour. Use a wooden spoon or the dough hook of a stand mixer to mix everything until it comes together, then knead – with your hands or the mixer – for five to 10 minutes (adding more flour if necessary) until smooth. Place the dough in a clean, large bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 90 minutes to two hours (or overnight in the fridge) until it has approximately doubled in size.

Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut the dough in half, and on a lightly floured surface flatten the first piece into a rectangle about 15 cm. long and one cm. thick.

Use a sharp knife to slice the rectangle into strips about one cm. thick, and tie the strip into a knot. Place the knots on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving space between them to rise (I ended up using two sheets). Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Brush the knots with olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap, then let rise for 60-90 minutes until about doubled in size.

Bake at 200 C for 12-15 minutes until nicely browned.

While the garlic knots are baking, place the butter or oil and garlic in a small pot over medium heat, and cook for just a few minutes to take the edge off the raw garlic.

Remove from the heat, add the salt and parsley if using.

Let the knots cool five minutes out of the oven, the brush with the garlic mixture and let cool another 15 minutes.

Best served immediately, and ideally the same day as baking.

Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute’s baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.