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- What are Garlic Knots?
- ⏰ Sample Baking Schedule:
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 🧄 How to Make Sourdough Garlic Knots:
- How to Store Sourdough Garlic Knots
- Sourdough Garlic Knots FAQs:
- Sourdough Garlic Knots
- Other Recipes You Might Like:
These homemade Sourdough Garlic Knots are absolutely irresistible when they’re hot out of the oven with their pull-apart, soft texture and doused in garlic butter, parmesan cheese, and parsley.
You can make this easy sourdough garlic knots recipe on the same day and enjoy them with an Italian pizza or pasta dinner or as an appetizer or snack for game day.
The recipe guide below walks through every step of how to make the garlic knots, including how to shape them and a sample day-of schedule.
These are such a crowd-pleaser, and I know you’ll be making them over and over again once you see how easy they are to make!
What are Garlic Knots?
Garlic knots were created in New York City pizzerias as a way to reduce pizza dough waste.
The exact origins are unclear, with one pizzeria in Brooklyn claiming that they’ve been making a variation of garlic rolls (made with poppy seeds, garlic, and olive oil) since 1947. Others assert the popular appetizer originates from Queens in the 1970’s.
Either way, garlic knots are decidedly not from Italy, but have their origins in New York City Italian pizzerias. And now, these garlicky delights are sold across the United States from mom-and-pop Italian-American restaurants to frozen food aisles and mega pizza delivery chains.
There are some variations on how garlic knots are shaped or what toppings are included, but the general makeup includes a simple pizza dough tied into a knot and doused in garlic butter, which may include parmesan cheese or other Italian herbs.
The concept is simple, but delicious, and who can resist a hot-out-of-the-oven pull-apart roll covered in garlic?! And for me, I love their origin story as a food waste reduction treat à la donut holes, croutons, almond croissants, or fried rice.
⏰ Sample Baking Schedule:
This homemade garlic knots day-of baking schedule is how I typically make these, so they’re ready as an appetizer in the late afternoon or so they’re ready by dinner. As always, the proofing times depend on temperature (warmer = faster, colder = slower), and the schedule is easily adjustable based on your personal schedule.
For example, you can chill the dough for up to two days. However, if the dough is chilled for longer than a couple of hours, you’ll need to extend the final proofing time some since the dough will take longer to come to room temperature.
|Mix Dough and Bulk Fermentation||9am-1pm|
|Chill Dough (one hour or up to 48 hours)||1-2pm|
|Shape and Proof||2-4pm|
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the links below for my tool recommendations.
- Baking Scale
- Weight measurements are the most accurate for this recipe and will help when you divide the dough so you get equal-sized knots. Especially for sourdough starter, standard measurements can vary greatly from person to person, so measuring by weight will give you the best results.
- Large Baking Sheet Pan
- This recipe makes twelve garlic knots that you can fit on one large baking sheet (21″x15″).
- I like the Nordic Ware big sheet pan linked above, but you can use two half-sheet pans or smaller pans instead if they don’t all fit in your pan.
- Stand Mixer (optional but recommended)
- I use a stand mixer to mix the garlic knot dough since I have one, but you can absolutely make this easy dough by hand in a mixing bowl and some kneading on the counter. If mixing by hand, follow the same indicators to know when the dough is properly mixed.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the links below for my favorite ingredient recommendations.
Sourdough Garlic Knots Dough
- Bread Flour
- While you’ll get good results using all-purpose flour with this recipe, high-protein bread flour will make the dough chewier and give the garlic knots a better pull-apart texture. This is because there is a higher gluten content in bread flour, which creates the chewiness we associate with a chewy pizza crust or bagels.
- Sea Salt
- I like using sea salt in most of my bread dough recipes because the small granules incorporate into the dough easier. Use an equal amount of Kosher salt if you don’t have sea salt.
- Granulated Sugar
- There’s only a tablespoon of sugar in this recipe, but the small amount helps balance out the savoriness of the knots, tenderizes the crumb slightly, and increases browning. If you’re on a no-sugar kick, leave it out.
- Olive Oil
- Using a bit of olive oil in pizza dough adds flavor and elasticity to the dough, helping to stretch it out. For the garlic knots, the olive oil also adds softness to the dough so you get the desirable pull-apart texture.
- You can use whatever type of olive oil you have around in this recipe, but an average cooking oil works fine (save the good and expensive stuff for finishing salads!).
- Active Sourdough Starter
- If you don’t have an active sourdough starter, learn how to make one in a week following my how-to guide.
- Don’t use sourdough discard in this recipe, because the knots are leavened and you want them to rise as they proof.
- To create a shiny, brown crust, I use an egg to brush an egg wash on top of the garlic knots before they bake. If you’re making the recipe vegan, you can brush the knots with olive oil instead.
- Unsalted butter
- To make the recipe vegan, substitute the butter with an equal amount of vegan butter or olive oil.
- Garlic cloves
- Since there’s no garlic in the dough itself (garlic can actually negatively affect fermentation), the garlic butter needs to pack a punch! I’m always a fan of using fresh garlic over garlic powder for the most intense garlic flavor, so I minch three garlic cloves in this recipe and toast them in the butter for the most robust flavor.
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- For the best flavor, always use freshly grated cheese in your recipes! There are no preservatives or anti-caking agents added, so it will melt better and have better flavor. You can substitute the parmesan with another salty Italian cheese like Pecorino Romano here.
- For a vegan substitute, use nutritional yeast.
- Fresh parsley (optional)
- I exclusively use flat-leaf Italian parsley for a more robust flavor and better mouthfeel than its curly counterpart. You can easily substitute it with an equal amount of basil, oregano, chives, or a mix of them all.
- Fresh herbs taste the best, but to replace with dried herbs, use half the amount of dried herbs since they’re more potent.
🧄 How to Make Sourdough Garlic Knots:
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you bake these sourdough garlic knots. The recipe makes 12 garlic knots.
1. Mix the Dough
If you’ve ever made homemade pizza dough before, then you’ll notice that this dough is similar and that’s because garlic knots are typically made with scraps of pizza dough. If you love this dough, feel free to turn it into pizza too!
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add:
- 325 grams of bread flour
- 6 grams of sea salt
- 13 grams of granulated sugar (1 TBS)
- 153 grams of water
- 25 grams of olive oil
- 100 grams of active sourdough starter*
Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until the dough starts coming together. At first, it will seem dry, but it will come together as it mixes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Then, increase the speed to medium and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough wraps around the dough hook, is tacky to the touch (not sticky), and you can stretch it without it tearing immediately.
The dough may not quite pass the windowpane test, but that’s fine, because the dough will gather more strength with a couple of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation.
If mixing by hand, follow the same indicators and knead the dough on a clean work surface.
*Note: If you’d prefer to make a levain, mix together 35g of starter, 35g of water, and 35g of bread flour and place it in a warm location for 4-5 hours until it’s doubled in size and bubbly.
2. Bulk Fermentation
Transfer the dough to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Gather it into a ball if needed.
Cover and place in a warm location (between 75-80ºF ideally) to bulk ferment for about 4 hours. The garlic knot dough has a large amount of starter in it, so it tends to ferment quite quickly, so cut it short if you need to.
During bulk fermentation, perform a couple of stretch and folds in the first hour with 30 minutes separated between each to strengthen it further. To stretch and fold, lightly wet one hand and lift up a portion of the dough and lay it down onto itself. Rotate the bowl and repeat a few more times.
Rest the dough for the remainder of bulk fermentation. Bulk fermentation is complete when the dough has doubled in size and feels full of air. If your dough is warmer, it will ferment faster and if it’s colder, it will proof slower.
View my guide on bulk fermentation for more information.
3. Chill the Dough
This step isn’t 100% necessary, but I include it because it makes shaping so much easier and it gives you the option to extend the baking schedule.
I chill the dough for at least one hour, but you can chill it for up to two days* in the refrigerator.
The longer the dough is in the refrigerator, the more tangy and complex flavor it will develop. And while that’s typically what I aim for in most of my breads, I prefer making these garlic knots day-of. Additionally, I find that once they’re tossed in the fragrant garlic butter, there’s no compromise in flavor.
*Note: that if you chill the dough for more than a couple of hours, the final proof may take longer.
4. Divide and Shape
Weigh the chilled dough and divide the weight in twelve. This will be the weight of each garlic knot. My total dough typically weighs between 600 and 650g, and each knot usually ends up being between 50-55 grams.
Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the dough into twelve equal-sized pieces and set them aside.
To make these into smaller garlic bread bites, divide them into smaller pieces (around 25 grams each) and shape into small rounds.
How to Shape Sourdough Garlic Knots
I like shaping them into little rolls because they hold together well, and I think they look neater than having the ends sticking out.
- First, lightly dust your work surface. Don’t flour too much, or the knots will be difficult to roll out. If there’s any sticking, lightly flour your hands and the surface.
- Use both hands to roll out a piece of dough into a long rope about 10-12 inches long.
- Create a U shape.
- Cross one end over the other, creating a hole at the bottom of the U.
- Tie one end through the hole in the center like a pretzel.
- Finally, loop the two loose ends into the center of the hole to complete the garlic knot.
Set aside and repeat with the remaining garlic knots.
I have a short video on how to shape garlic knots below. Furthermore, there are step-by-step instructional photos.
5. Final Proof
Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Space the garlic knots on the lined baking sheet at least two inches apart so they don’t bake into each other. Use two baking sheets if they don’t all fit.
Cover the knots with plastic wrap (I gently spray with non-stick spray so it doesn’t stick to the knots as they proof).
Then, place the pan in a warm location to proof for 1½ to 2 hours, or until they’ve doubled in size, feel poofy, and look puffy.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
Once preheated, beat one egg into a small bowl and brush a light egg wash over the tops of the proofed garlic knots. The egg wash will help create a golden brown and shiny crust.
You can get by with baking these without an egg wash, but they’ll be a little pale and you risk over baking them because you’ll think they’re not brown enough!
Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the garlic knots are uniformly golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway if your oven bakes unevenly.
7. Make the Garlic Butter
As the garlic knots bake, make the garlic butter. I don’t recommend making the garlic butter ahead of time because you want the melted, hot butter to smother the knots as they’re still hot out of the oven.
In a medium pan on the stovetop, melt 5 TBS (71g) of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add three minced garlic cloves to the hot butter. Roast the garlic until it’s light brown, stirring the garlic frequently. Pay attention as the garlic can burn quickly.
If your butter begins to foam too quickly and brown before the garlic is ready, lower the heat and feel free to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan so it doesn’t burn. Some browned butter is great, though, and adds even more flavor!
As soon as the garlic starts to brown, remove from the heat and pour the garlic butter into a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, to taste), 2 TBS of chopped fresh parsley, and 2 to 3 TBS of freshly grated parmesan cheese to the hot bowl.
Stir it all together and set aside until the knots finish baking.
8. Toss Together and Enjoy
Add the hot garlic knots to a large bowl.
Then, pour the garlic butter on top of the garlic knots.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, a lid, or a cutting board, and shake the bowl to coat the knots in the aromatic garlic butter.
Alternatively, you can brush the garlic butter onto the knots. However, I find it doesn’t do as good of a job distributing and coating the knots.
Grate more parmesan cheese on top and rip apart the knots and enjoy while warm. They’re excellent dipped in marinara sauce and served with your favorite Italian pasta meal.
How to Store Sourdough Garlic Knots
Sourdough garlic knots taste best fresh, but keep surprisingly well. They can last for a few days in a cool, dry environment at room temperature because the egg wash protects the interior from drying out too quickly.
I like to store them in a brown paper bag so they still get some air circulation. Reheat slightly in a toaster oven so they taste fresh.
They’ll last longer in the refrigerator, but may harden. If the knots do get hard, you can easily reheat them for a few minutes in a toaster oven.
Can you Freeze Sourdough Garlic Knots?
Yes! Freeze the baked garlic knots before topping with garlic butter. Place them in a sealed freezer-safe bag for up to three months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature and reheat before serving.
I recommend making the garlic butter just before serving so they’ll taste just as fresh as new!
Sourdough Garlic Knots FAQs:
Are garlic knots Italian?
Technically, no. Garlic knots originate from New York City and Italian-American pizzerias. In most Italian cuisine, garlic is used quite liberally, so it’s usually not added to bread.
Sourdough Garlic Knots
Sourdough Garlic Knots Dough
- 71 grams Unsalted Butter, 5 TBS
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 pinch Sea Salt
- 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes, optional to taste
- 3 TBS Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping
- 2 TBS Fresh Parsley, chopped, or other herbs like basil, oregano, or chives
- Add the sourdough garlic knot dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until the dough starts coming together. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough wraps around the dough hook, is tacky, and you can stretch it without it tearing immediately.325 grams Bread Flour, 6 grams Sea Salt, 13 grams Granulated Sugar, 153 grams Water, 100 grams Sourdough Starter, 25 grams Olive Oil
- Transfer the dough to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Gather it into a ball.Cover and place in a warm location to bulk ferment for about 4 hours.During bulk fermentation, perform a couple of stretch and folds in the first hour with 30 minutes separated between each fold to strengthen it further.Rest the dough for the remainder of bulk fermentation. Bulk fermentation is complete when the dough has doubled in size and feels full of air.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour and up to 48 hours.
- Turn out the chilled dough onto a scale to weigh it and divide the total weight by twelve. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the dough into twelve equal-sized pieces (about 50-55 grams each).
- To shape, I highly recommend viewing my shaping video or photos in the guide above.Lightly flour your work surface. Use both hands to roll out a piece of dough into a long rope about 10-12 inches long. Create a U shape and cross one end over the other, creating a hole at the bottom of the U. Tie one end through the hole in the center like a pretzel. Finally, loop the two loose ends into the center of the hole to complete the garlic knot.Repeat with the remaining knots.
- Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.Space the garlic knots on the lined baking sheet at least two inches apart so they don’t bake into each other. Use two baking sheets if they don’t all fit.Cover the knots with plastic wrap (I gently spray with non-stick spray so it doesn’t stick to the knots as they proof).Then, place the pan in a warm location to proof for 1½ to 2 hours, or until they’ve doubled in size, feel poofy, and look puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC).Once preheated, beat one egg into a small bowl and brush a light egg wash over the tops of the proofed garlic knots.Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the garlic knots are uniformly golden brown.1 Egg
- As the garlic knots bake, make the garlic butter. In a medium pan on the stovetop, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the minced garlic cloves to the hot butter. Roast the garlic for a few minutes until it’s light brown and fragrant, stirring the garlic frequently.As soon as the garlic starts to brown, remove it from the heat and pour the garlic butter into a small bowl. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and parsley to the hot bowl and stir.71 grams Unsalted Butter, 3 cloves Garlic, 1 pinch Sea Salt, 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes, 3 TBS Parmesan Cheese, 2 TBS Fresh Parsley
- Once baked, add the hot garlic knots to a large bowl and pour the garlic butter on top of the garlic knots.Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, a lid, or a cutting board, and shake the bowl to coat the knots in the garlic butter.Grate more parmesan cheese on top and rip apart the knots and enjoy while warm dipped in marinara sauce.
- Follow my guide for more detailed instructions and photos to make this recipe step-by-step, including a video and photos on how to shape the knots and a same day baking schedule