Easy Cheesy Italian Knots

Making this bread dough is a snap; it just doesn’t get any easier than this. If you are efficient, the dough can be ready to rise in 15 minutes flat. And with a few swipes of garlic butter, a sprinkle of cheese, and a couple of cuts and twists, you can make 16 incredible cheesy garlic knots that will make you very popular. (Disclaimer: I used a lot of garlic in this recipe. If you want to maintain that popularity, don’t breathe on anybody after eating one. Or maybe swish first with a lovely red wine . . .)

I made these three ways. The easiest—Cheesy Garlic Knots—is also my husband’s favorite, so that’s the recipe I’ll give you. Instructions for the other two variations (Saucy Salami, and Olive and Fig) will be at the bottom of the post . . . worth scrolling for!

Cheesy Garlic Knots

Saucy Salami Knots

Olive and Fig Knots

Easy Cheesy Italian Knots
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Makes 16 knots. Use whatever kind of cheese you enjoy. I like to use cheddar and jack, with a little Parmesan and Asiago for a flavorful kick.
Ingredients
  • DOUGH:
  • 1½ cups very warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • FILLING:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated cheese, lightly packed
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is recommended) combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow mixture to sit until slightly bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  2. Add olive oil, salt, garlic salt, and bread flour. Mix well using a dough hook (or if mixing by hand, use a sturdy spoon) then knead by machine for 5 minutes, or by hand for 7 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
  3. FILLING: Combine softened butter, olive oil, pressed garlic, and salt. Mix well. Set aside 1 tablespoon for brushing over knots.
  4. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with one at a time, roll into a 12-inch by 7-inch rectangle. Spread ¼ of the garlic butter mixture over the dough. Cover with ¼ of the cheese. Beginning at long side, roll snugly. Cut the roll in half, creating two 6-inch pieces. Cut each of these in half LENGTHWISE, exposing the layers.
  5. Stretch each piece gently while twisting until dough is approximately 9-10 inches long. Tie in a knot and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all of the dough, yielding 16 knots. Cover lightly with a towel and let the knots rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 400 F. Bake knots 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with reserved garlic butter mixture. Serve slightly warm.

Once yeast is bubbly, add oil, salt, and flour. Knead well and let rise until doubled.

Combine butter, oil, and garlic. (Make sure you save a little for brushing on hot knots.)

Spread one piece of dough with garlic butter and cover with a generous amount of grated cheese.

Roll snugly and cut in half.

Cut the halves in half, but LENGTHWISE this time to expose the layers. Twist and stretch, then tie in a knot

Cheesy Garlic Knots, ready to rise and bake.

Wait ’til you smell these! And if you think these are good, try one of the other variations below. Hint: don’t be too generous with the sauce or fig spread; it’ll make a big mess when you try to twist and knot!

Saucy Salami version: spread spaghetti sauce over garlic butter. Salami is added on top of the cheese. (Ignore the size; this was taken before I got smart and rolled the dough in smaller pieces.)

Saucy Salami: In addition to the Cheesy Garlic Knot recipe above, you’ll need 1/2 cup spaghetti (or pizza) sauce, and 1/2 cup finely chopped Italian dry salami.

Make knots as described in the recipe above, except after spreading the garlic butter, cover with a thin layer (about 2 tablespoons per each piece of dough) spaghetti sauce. (Pizza sauce would be good, too.) Don’t use too much or the dough will be much harder to twist and knot. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian dry salami over cheese. Roll, cut, and bake as described in the Cheesy Garlic Knot recipe.

Olive and Fig version: Add store bought kalamata/fig spread. So good! (Yes, you can make your own olive/fig tapenade if you’d like. There are lots of lovely recipes for that on Google.)

Olive and Fig: You’ll need a jar of olive fig spread. I bought this jar of spread at the grocery store, but they have a lot of brands online.

Make knots as described in the recipe above, except after spreading the garlic butter, cover with a thin layer (about 1 tablespoon per each piece of dough) olive fig spread before adding the cheese.  The kalamata olives are so flavorful, and figs add a touch of sweetness. Delightful!

These are dangerous – at least around here. I can’t stop at one, and I swear they’re even more flavorful the next day if they’re stored in an airtight container. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Lorinda

 

 

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