Monday, June 20, 2011

Mediterranean Bread Knots

One of my readers once asked me "who eats all this stuff you bake? I mean look at you!" Okay first of all, I WAS slim, now I'm fat by choice. Baby belly that is. I still feel fat, even though I know its all baby and the fact my guts have been pushed up into my ribcage. Secondly, the reason I can eat rubbish incredibly delicious food all the time is because I am what they call a thyroid build, so my metabolism is great--for the moment. Then I will look like that old woman who swallowed the dog to catch the cat to catch the bird to catch the fly that wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. It will catch up with me in the next ten years, I predict, when my thyroid has had enough of my junk addiction and is all tired out from over-working. Thirdly, most of the time when I bake its due to having guests over or for a special occasion, which is practically always. So now that you understand I don't own a cake shop, and I don't just sit at home gorging myself--I just want to put it out there that, if any locals don't like cooking themselves, but want a box of goodies for a party or do, I'm free and willing to cater. Cooking to me is one of life's greatest pleasures. I do it because I love it and I am totally addicted to it. People ask me where I find the time and I have no answer for that one--I just find it. Its like when you HAVE to get something done on a certain day, you just move your work around and re-prioritise. I guess its a bit like that!
Now, on to talking of food! Bread has long been one of those things I put into the unknown basket...but recently its become a fascination of mine. Occasionally I find an amazing recipe and make it, and love it and drool over the idea of making it again and again for weeks. Well, I found a real winner, and its perfect for beginners too, because I am just that. I found it on another blog, Swapna's Cuisine. I dont think it was her recipe but I want to recognise it all the same. She inspired me. She called them "Soft Garlic Knots" but I've adapted the recipe and well...hers looked much nicer, because I was changing a nappy when I was meant to be retrieving them from the oven. So the tops were a little browner than I expected, but they were super delicious! So soft and buttery inside, not at all what I expected! They stayed soft and fresh for the next day too, and certainly didn't last long in the house...they were rapidly devoured. Apologies about the poor quality photos...they were snapped hastily with a dying camera battery.



3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/4 salt
2 tbsp. seasoned oil*
1/4 cup milk
1 cup lukewarm water


3 tbsp. Mediterranean seasoning
1 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. seasoned olive oil

Place flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and then add the oil, milk and water. Mix the ingredients with your hand until a dough forms. Kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes with your hands in the bowl until the dough is soft and pliable, and forms a ball. Brush a little oil over the surface of the dough and place in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and sit for 1 hour until it has doubled in mass.
Take the dough and make into ten even portions. Roll each piece into a ten inch long rope and tie a knot in the middle. Take the end laying above the knot and fold it underneath and back into the centre. Take the end underneath the knot and fold it over the top and into the knot centre. Place on lined baking trays and cover with a clean tea towel for a further 45 minutes until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 175C. Combine the ingredients for the glaze. Brush over the tops of each roll with a pastry brush. Bake until lightly browned, approximately 15-18 minutes. Served warm with butter.

NOTES: you can use any mix of herbs for the glaze seasoning. Self raising flour seemed to work just as well as a bread flour. Seasoned oil is something I keep in my fridge. I don't know if you can buy it, but mine is the herbed oil remaining in a jar of sun-dried tomatoes when they have been used up. This oil has a beautiful flavour and is flecked with different herbs, but olive oil is an okay substitute.

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