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all knotted up

Luckily none of my students are (or need to be) on a low-carb diet. We had an entire day of breads and sandwiches. Focaccia, quick bread, biscuits, cookie sandwiches, and these yeast dough cuties. If you don’t have time to make your own dough, you can purchase frozen dough at the grocery store or fresh dough from a store such as Trader Joe’s. The knots are fun to tie and with a little practice end up looking very “restaurant quality” professional. Just be sure to have fun with it! As you can see in the picture below, the teen boys in this week’s class did – great job guys! And that’s my fabulous son/assistant, Connor, lurking in the background.

Pizza Knots

2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for oiling the pans
Double recipe homemade pizza dough
(recipe follows) or 2 pounds frozen pizza dough, thawed
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets.

Divide dough in half.  Keep half of the dough covered with a clean kitchen towel. Roll out other half into a 10-inch square on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (If dough is too elastic to roll to size, just cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest about 3 or 4 minutes and it should behave better.)

Cut the square in half with the edge of a pastry scraper, then cut each half crosswise into 15 strips.  Cover strips with a clean kitchen towel.

Gently tie each strip into a knot, pulling ends slightly to secure (if dough is sticky, dust lightly with flour) and arrange knots 1 inch apart on baking sheets. As you work tying each knot, keep the remaining strips covered with a clean towel.  As you make the knots and place on baking sheets, keep them covered with another towel.

Roll out and cut remaining dough, and repeat the process. Bake, switching position of pans on oven racks halfway through baking, 20 to 25 minutes total or until golden.

While knots bake; mash the minced garlic with salt into a paste, then place  in a very large bowl and stir in the olive oil.

Immediately after baking, toss knots in garlic oil, then sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 60 knots

Basic Pizza Dough

(double this recipe for the Pizza Knots above)

1 tablespoon or 1 package active dry yeast
2 cups flour, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm  water, the yeast, and 1/4 cup of the flour.  Let stand for 20 minutes, this is called the sponge.

Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, the olive oil, milk and salt and mix thoroughly.   Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic, and a little bit tacky to the touch, about 8 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough over to cover with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Makes about 1 pound pizza dough

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