Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Necessity: DIY Garlic Knots

It is February, and the people at Conca D'Oro are taking their annual vacation. How I miss the aroma of yeasty dough and sizzling garlic as I walk down Washington Street towards the IGA! To combat the Winter doldrums that affect so many of us when we realize we can't even get a slice of pizza in this village, I mixed a batch of pizza dough, cut it into strips, and made my own dough knots. When they came out of the oven I brushed them with garlic butter and sprinkled them with Parmesan and parsley. My kitchen smelled just like Washington Street on a breezy day in March. Here is the recipe:

Garlic Knots
Makes 16

1 cup room temperature water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt or kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine the water, yeast, flour, and 1 teaspoon salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse several times to form a rough dough. Let the dough stand for 10 minutes in the bowl, and then process until it is smooth and elastic, 30 to 45 seconds.
2. Spray the inside of a dough rising container or large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise voluminously (the dough will triple or quadruple in size) 3 to 4 hours.
3. Place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the butter, garlic, hot red pepper flakes if using, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and heat on medium-low until the garlic is just fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
4. On a lightly floured countertop, turn the dough out, sprinkle with flour, and gently roll into a 10-inch square. Use a pizza wheel or sharp chef's knife to cut each square into four 5-inch squares. Cut each 5-inch square into four strips.
5. Gently pull each strip to elongate slightly while tying into a knot. Place each knot on the parchment-lined peel, leaving an inch between each knot. Sprinkle the knots with flour, lightly drape with plastic wrap, and let stand 30 minutes.
6. Slide the knots, still on the parchment paper, onto the preheated baking stone and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Slide the knots, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack. Brush with the garlic butter and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley. Let cool 5 minutes and serve warm or let cool to room temperature before serving.

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