If anyone had told me even two years ago that I’d have a group of friends I baked with, I’d have considered that it was possible, because I do have a group of friends I cook dinner with on a regular basis. But if I’d been told the baking friends lived thousands of miles away, some in countries outside the U.S., and that when we baked we questioned and deliberated about all things “culinary” such as:
- wild yeast
- electrician’s tape for bits and parts
- proofing temps
- green & black garlic
- who’s that soccer player? Beckham?
- kitchen humidity levels
- anatomically shaped knots
- Star Wars
- packages; and
- boy toys…Ahem…
Where was I? Oh, yes, and that all this “talk” happened in day long chats by instant messaging on Skype, I would have said, absolutely no chance.
a complete riot and absolutely so educational. Of course, it would be much more fun if most of my fellow “bakeanistas” weren’t in another time zone. It’s a bit of a challenge to drag myself out of bed early on a weekend morning when I’m sorely in need of my beauty rest, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Just the thought of being able to spend a day in my kitchen in front of my iMac (like that’s unusual?) with my pjs on and no worry of make-up or anything beyond brushing my hair is sheer heaven. You know, when the rest of the sane world is out enjoying time at the park, or the beach, or taking care of gardening. Yes, like that. And who knows whether our keyboards will ever be the same, but some are experimenting with SaranWrap coverings lest snorting coffee through one’s nose over the ensuing hilarity should damage them.
The nice thing about these cyber baking chat sessions is that they remind me of what it’s like to see a neighbor outside her house and call over to her that you’ve got a fresh pot of coffee brewing, or a mimosa in the works, and because she’s expecting a friend any minute who was going to meet up with her neighbor, and they were getting ready to go out with two friends….You understand, right? Except that doesn’t happen in my real neighborhood — the one right outside my door.
Hence, bakeanistas. With two dudes added for good measure.
From one session to the next, there’s no telling who will join in because it’s impromptu. And sometimes people are busy, so they just pull up a chair and chat for a while as the rest of us bake. But as each in the group proceeds through the recipe or its variations (because we enjoy experimenting with it) photos of our baked morsels start flying back and forth so we can oooh and ahhhh one another’s accomplishments as they roll off the assembly line.
Or not. Sometimes, things don’t always unfold the way we’d like. It’s a bit challenging gossiping and trying to bake and type all at the same time so there’s bound to be a problem. Yeast doesn’t exactly stop working when you’ve got errands to run, right?
Thankfully, this dough is very forgiving — as in after you’ve throw it across the room to get it off your hands because it’s so sticky.
Buttery Garlic Knots with Rosemary
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/2 c. warm water (105 degrees F)
1 tsp. plus 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 envelope plus 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
3 lg. eggs, room temp
5-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 T melted butter
5/8 oz. garlic (3 lg. cloves)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T butter, melted
1-1/2 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
- In a medium pan over low heat, warm milk adn 3/4 c. of butter until it melts. Stir occasionally to prevent milk from burning. Let cool to 120 degrees F.
- Combine warm water, 1 tsp. sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and slet stand for 5 minutes until it softens and begins to puff.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and remaining sugar at low speed until blended. Beat in the milk mixture. Gradually add 2-1/2 c. of the flour, 1/2 c. at a time until blended smooth. Replace the whisk with the dough hook. Add the yeast mixture, salt, and 2 cups of flour, 1/2 c. at a time, and beat at medium low speed (2 on the KA mixer). You will have a very wet and loose dough that climbs the dough hook but falls back down into the bowl by this time.
- One tablespoon at a time, add enough flour to form a firm but sticky dough ball. The dough ball will pull away from the sides of the bowl and not flop back to the sides. It will feel like “fly paper” when you touch it.
- Pour 1 T melted butter in a large bowl (4 qt.) that can be fitted with a lid or plastic cling wrap. On a very lightly flour dusted counter, and with lightly floured hands, turn the dough out and give it 3-5 quick hand kneads to form a good dough ball. Then put it in the buttered bowl, turning it over to coat evenly. Cover the bowl tightly, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, fold it over in half, then in half again, and brush with melted butter. Cover the bowl again and let rise again in the same warm, draft-free place until double, about 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before the last rise, in a large skillet, melt 2 T butter with 2 T extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the fresh rosemary and sea salt, mix well and scrape into a bowl. Set aside.
- When the last rise is done, you’re ready to shape the rolls, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work space and cut it into 16 even pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a rope about 11-inches long and flatten it. Spoon about 1/4 tsp. of the garlic rosemary mixture along its length, then fold lengthwise and press the edges together. Twist lengthwise, then shape into a knot of your choosing. As you finish, place each on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Then let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed.
- Before the end of this last rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the knots for about 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and brush with remaining garlic rosemary mixture or use to dip.
- This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation. It just happens!
- The original recipe — or at least one of the original recipes is from the King Arthur Flour site and can be found here — and it’s a perfectly wonderful recipe. But then Lis had an idea…
- The adaptation I used was from Bon Appetit, or was it Saveur? I’m not sure, because Breadchick found it. But I think it can be found here.
- I made the adjustments to include the flattened, ropes twisted with olive oil, garlic, butter and rosemary — flavors which are favorites.
- When mixing the dough, and right at the end adding flour “one tablespoon at a time…?” Well I added 14 of those tablespoons to get my dough to the point where I could remove it from the mixing bowl and give it a few shoves before slapping it in that buttered bowl for its first rise. And it takes patience to do that, lovingly watching the side of that bowl to see what that dough is inclined to do. Because bread dough has personality, and you just never know. Patience is not something that comes naturally for me.
- In discussion, a few of my beloved bakeanista friends thought that cutting back on the sugar by half would be good. The knots aren’t too sweet, but taste tests performed by the victims in my house agreed that maybe a bit less sugar would be nice. I wasn’t too sure, however, because their mouths were full of garlicy, buttery goodness.
- I made 16 knots: 8 with the garlic rosemary mixture baked inside the dough as described above, and 8 with just the mixture brushed over the baked knots.
- Everyone agreed that putting the garlic mixture inside the knots AND brushing it over the top was the best way to collapse with a full stomach, a smile on your face and garlic on your breath.
Now don’t forget to check out the other bakeanistas to see what they’ve created — Especially Mary of The Sourdough. This session was all her heavenly garlicy idea. And then there’s Helen, Lis, John, Chris, Sara, Marce, & Tanna.