Nothing is better than homemade bread fresh out of the oven covered in cheesy, garlicky, buttery goodness. Over the years as I’ve developed my baking skills and explored many interesting recipes, I’ve learned that most store-bought baked goods are so much better when homemade. Bread is one of my favorite foods to bake because it is extremely rewarding and relatively easy to make. Since my brother is a huge fan of garlic bread, I’ve learned to make two versions that never fail to be a big hit with anyone. The more complex route is to bake my own French bread, then slice it in two and lather it with garlic butter and cheese — while I love this version, it’s rather time-consuming.
The second method is garlic knots. Arguably cuter than traditional garlic bread, and significantly quicker to make, garlic knots are a no-fail recipe that can be whipped up right when you want them. With little proofing time and a quick bake, this recipe is a must-try for any beginner baker. An easy way to make this recipe even quicker is to use store-bought pizza or biscuit dough which can be found at Trader Joe’s and many other grocery stores in Charlottesville.
When perfecting this recipe I opted to take notes from a popular online version and combine it with a simple recipe for home-made pizza dough to make my ideal garlic knots. With this rendition, you can make garlic knots at home that taste better than the ones from your favorite restaurant in under an hour. Best served warm, these knots are sure to be a huge hit with friends and family — perfect for gatherings of any size.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Yields: 12 large garlic knots
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 ½ - 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup oil
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
- Mix together water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
- In a separate large bowl combine flour and salt.
- Add yeast mixture to bowl of dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Add oil to dough and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice dough into 12 equal portions and roll into strips about 6 inches long.
- Tie each strip into a simple knot by crossing one end over the other then back through the resulting loop. Optionally, you can tuck the ends of the dough into the bottom of the roll for a more rounded end product.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment, place each knot about 1 ½ inches apart.
- Stir together melted butter, garlic powder, herbs, and parmesan.
- Brush knots with butter mixture, reserving 1 ½ tbsp of the butter mixture for later. Optional: sprinkle knots with additional cheese.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove knots from the oven and brush with reserved butter mixture.
- Allow to cool as long as desired and enjoy!
If you opt to make your own dough, you can easily prepare it a few hours ahead of time. A few tips for success are to resist over-kneading and over-proofing the dough. Smooth and elastic dough would look like there are no clumps of flour and the dough springs back if you gently poke it but is not so tough it resists flexing. Be sure to put dough in the fridge after the initial 30-minute rise to ensure it does not overproof. If you choose to use store-bought dough — jump right into the recipe beginning at step 6.
The key to these garlic knots is having quality ingredients — specifically the cheese. Fresh grated or shredded parmesan works best for this recipe as the flavor comes through much more strongly than the shelf-stable grated parmesan cheese. Additionally, while the herbs are important in this recipe, it’s okay if you do not have both dried oregano and parsley — simply use what you have and the recipe will still turn out tasty. Many other recipes for garlic knots call for Italian seasoning instead of specific dried herbs. While I have not tried this myself, I’m sure it is a swap that yields decent results.
If you or someone you know is a fan of garlic bread, this is the recipe for you. With irresistible flavor and texture — and the charm of being a home-bake — these garlic knots are sure to please any foodie. Baking bread might seem daunting, but with this fail-safe recipe, you’re well on your way to becoming a confident baker.