dough | garlic | herbs | italian | parsley | recipe | savory | snacks | yeast

A story of yeast, garlic, olive oil… & lust.

February 16, 2011

I can’t believe it’s the 16th of February. Time is flying by, seems just like yesterday it was Christmas. Of course I’m thankful for the fact that spring is coming, so I’m not complaining. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that you all remember that love is 365 days a year not just the 14th of February.

Speaking of love, I love garlic knots. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t, I just always remember having them with a pizza whenever it was delivered (and sometimes when just eating it by the slice). Back from the time I was a wee little one, I remember getting delivery Italian food from the place that used to be right near the supermarket we went to, we’d either get a pizza & knots or some dinners (I’d always get baked ziti) and… garlic knots! Those knots were not the best I’ve ever had, by far, but simply sentimentally good. On the other hand, there were a few places I went in High School that had hard-as-hockey-pucks, dry, teeny tiny, not-made-with-real-garlic “garlic” knots and those were just an epic fail. At times, that can be heart-breakingly sad for someone like me who loves & adores food so very much. The worst? Going someplace with divine pizza that has shitty garlic knots. Ugh. Then I got to college & discovered the vast variety of pizza joints in NYC & their varying levels of garlic knottery. Some places, from the very looks of them I didn’t bother trying any. Others, seemed promising but weren’t as flavorful as I’d hoped. Finally I forgot my search & settled on the deli/pizza place across the street from F.I.T. that was cheap & quick.

So yeah, like I said, eating garlic knots can be a wonderful experience, or a slightly horrifying waste of time. I’ve had ’em all- and I mean ALL; good ones, bad ones, small ones, large ones, hard ones, soft ones, ones made with real garlic, ones made with garlic powder. I’ve been mildly disappointed to gravely disappointed, somewhat impressed to overly ecstatic. And the latter are the ones that prompted me to make some myself.

Jay & I go to this little local pizza place/restaurant all the time. It’s really got delicious food, surprisingly delicious… seriously, the best chicken parmigiana I ever ate. But the real reason I think we keep going back are the garlic knots. You get 4 of ’em in the bread basket, but we always end up asking for more. They’re huge, garlicky, olive oily and have a dash of parmesan cheese & parsley, with the perfect amount of saltiness every time. So good. I literally lust for them. I crave them at random times. It was because of that, really, that I decided to try my hand at making my own. All I had to do was a Google search on recipes for garlic knots, and wound up at this beautifully written (& photographed) recipe at White On Rice Couple.

So mine aren’t perfect, let’s get that straight right now.  My “knots” aren’t the best. At the time I made these, I didn’t have my new oven thermometer, so they got a bit browner than I’d like (but now I do have one,  & I’ve learned that almost every time it’s on, my oven gives a different temperature reading, sometimes it’s right on 350, other times it’s too low… go figure, I have an oven poltergeist). I also didn’t chill my dough, I just used it fresh, which might have made a few minor differences. But they do look beautiful, and they tasted pretty good too.

GARLIC KNOTS (taken directly from White On Rice Couple)


  • 1 ¾ cup warm water (@115°F)
  • ¼ cup olive oil*
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
  • approx. 5 ½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour*
Garlic Coating
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • sea salt to taste
*plus extra olive oil and flour for making the knots


  1. Combine water, ¼ cup olive oil, sea salt, sugar, and active dry yeast in a large resealable container or bowl. Mix to dissolve yeast.
  2. Add flour.  Mix to incorporate flour, cover, and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in volume (usually 1-3 hrs depending on initial water temp and warmth of proofing area). (A sunny table outside on a warm summer day is perfect for proofing!)
  3. Chill the dough for a bit (will keep fine in fridge for several days if you want to make the dough ahead of time) to make it easier to handle (this can be skipped if you don’t have the time) then set up your knotting station.  Put out a large wooden cutting board and oil liberally.  Grab a rolling dowel or pin and oil.  Grab a pizza cutter or something similar to slice dough in strips. Put container of flour within easy reach. Line several sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats and place within easy reach.
  4. Oil your hands to help keep dough from sticking to them. Divide the dough in two parts to make it easier to handle.  Take the first half, slap it onto the oiled board several times to flatten.  Using the dowel, spread into an even rectangle approx. 5″x16″ and ½″ thick. Slice the rectangle into ½″x5″ strips.
  5. Rotate the board 90° and sprinkle dough strips and board with flour.  Taking the strip nearest to you, roll it back and forth to create an even rope. Tie into a knot (over, under, and through) and place on lined sheet pan. Place knots about an 1 ½″ apart.  At first it may seem awkward making the knots but with a little practice it will become easy.  Flour is your friend to help keep the dough from sticking to itself while forming the knots.
  6. Continue making the rest of the knots with the second half of the dough. After each sheet pan fills up, cover with a dry sack towel, and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise.
  7. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  8. After knots have doubled in size, take off dry sack towel and place sheet pans in the oven.  Bake for approx. 12-15 min. or until golden.
  9. While knots are baking, make garlic coating.  Gently warm olive oil, butter, and garlic in a small saucepan (if you like your garlic with less of a bite, cook it for a few minutes in oil/butter mix until soft & slightly golden).  Add chopped parsley and set aside.
  10. After removing knots from oven, while still warm, either brush with garlic coating, or place knots in a large bowl and toss with garlic coating. Season with sea salt to taste. Best served warm, but still good when at room temp.

This is not my last time making these, for sure. I’ll perfect them yet… just you wait & see.

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  1. Hello! These look A-MAZ-ING. I was thinking of making them for a dinner on Friday night. Would they work reheated? Like, make them the night before and then just warm them on Friday? Or make them, leave the garlic off, reheat them on Friday and apply the garlic while they are warm? I didn’t know if, when you had made them, if any of them lasted until the next day. =) thanks! E

  2. Hi Erin!

    I’m not sure about your question. I made them and they all literally disappeared within an hour. But worse comes to worse, I’d say maybe make the knots, let them rise, and then leave them in the fridge overnight, then just bake them before your dinner?

    I wish I could offer a better answer! But let me know how it goes either way, okay?

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