Just after moving into my house last September, my roommate and I decided to invite a few of our friends over for dinner. I was feeling adventurous (and ambitious) so I chose the most tedious lasagne recipe that I could possibly find, as well as Joy the Baker’s Garlic Knots — because who can eat lasagne without garlic bread? Although I bit off more than I could chew and dinner wasn’t served until about ten o’clock that night. To be honest, I’m not sure whether people speak fondly of the food that night because they had to wait four hours to eat it with grumbling stomachs, because it was homemade and it was free (student life is rough), or because it was actually a culinary triumph. The leftovers were just as tasty, so I still choose to believe it was the final option of the three.
Because of my fond memories of piping hot, steaming garlic knots — oozing with melted butter — I decided I would give Joy’s recipe another shot, but with a few tweaks of my own. These knots are soft, light and just sweet enough to satisfy a dessert craving, but not as sweet and sugary as a cinnamon roll. I put a glaze on mine, which made them slightly sweeter and more doughnut-like. But with the whole-wheat flour and juicy raisins, these would make a great breakfast if you swapped out the glaze for a bit of butter.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread Knots
For the knots:
- 1 package active, dry yeast (about 2.5 teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 egg
For the glaze (optional):
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl or measuring jug, dissolve the yeast and sugar with one cup of warm water. If you’re using a thermometer to check the water temperature, the ideal temperature is between 105° and 115°F (40°-46°C). Allow the mixture to sit and yeast to bloom for about five minutes. In this time, it should begin to get frothy.
In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, salt, and one tablespoon of cinnamon with a whisk. Place the raisins in a separate bowl and fill with hot water. Allow the raisins to sit and plump up for at least ten minutes before draining.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the yeast mixture into the well, as well as the olive oil. Begin mixing the wet and dry ingredients together with a fork. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add more all-purpose flour. The dough is meant to be a bit sticky, but still manageable.
Mix in the raisins until combined with the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, flipping the dough a few times to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for one hour.
After the dough has been left to rise for an hour, it should have doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and separate the into ten separate portions. Combine the egg and remaining two teaspoons of warm water. Roll out each dough portion into a rectangle then brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon. Roll each rectangle up, pinching along the seam to seal the dough together.
Knot each portion of dough to form knotted rolls. There many different ways to knot the dough, but I followed a handy photo tutorial for a single knot that I found on The Challah Blog. After all of the rolls are knotted, cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise for an additional thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange knots on the prepared trays. Bake the knots until they are golden brown, which should take about fifteen to eighteen minutes. While the knots are baking, prepare the glaze by melting the butter and then combining it with the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Remove the knots from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Immediately brush the rolls with glaze and serve while still hot, or store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Whole Wheat Garlic Knots