Hello Summer! Nice to see you again. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that I’m missing Spring already. I love the fine breeze and especially the warm weather and Spring usually gives me that. But you, Summer, arriving full of heat, are a little too much uncomfortable to stay outside longer than two minutes. Suddenly, we open the front door and find there’s a sauna outside all over, no matter it’s direct sunlight or shadow. Everywhere! So, I’m sorry to release this news to you, but Spring is the new Summer. Summer is… too hot to handle. Yes, this is Florida. I love almost everything about this place. I would enjoy this weather if it could offer a fine refreshing breeze together with the heat. It would be more supportable. Anything else is fine. Less the humidity that curls my hair. And the threat of hurricanes during this season. Alright, and I confess I’m not thrilled by the alligators. Oh, and the lovebugs that visit us twice a year. I’m sorry, I’m not perfect.
With all that being said, we spent a pretty nice and long weekend. Between my birthday and father’s day, we had some quality time going to an Art Museum, driving around Orlando, shopping, having a haircut and just relaxing and celebrating. Good times. We were planning to go to a theme park as well, but canceled it because of the heat. I think we’ll leave those kind of plans for sometime in January or other colder month. Nevertheless, the oven at home was on and on and on. Are you feeling the contradiction? I praise the man who invented air conditioning and help me to be a happy baker all summertime. No matter how hot is outside we can arrive home and crank the oven. That is really something else because we are people who have their birthdays mainly during the hot months. Therefore, it is greatly important to be able to bake a lot in the sunny season. Birthday cakes and alike, muffins, pies, flans, pizza and basil and garlic knots. Everything else is greatly salads, rice, some pasta and lots of ice-cream.
These knots replenished with a basil and garlic butter are easy to prepare, bake and eat. The dough is mostly made with whole wheat and is fully adapted to roll into a pizza as well. That’s what we did with half of this dough. The knots are soft and utterly delicious. But even in the remote possibility of having leftovers, I can testify that they stay stupendous in the next day, after being warm up in the oven for 5 minutes or in the microwave for 10 seconds. Make these regardless the weather, they’re worthy any season.
Basil and Garlic Knots (adapted from this garlic knots):
Preparation time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Cook time: 15-18 minutes
Makes about 18 knots
2 package active dry yeast, about 5 tsp
4 tsp sugar
2 cups warm water (about 100 F)
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
For the basil-garlic mixture:
8 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 Tbsp good quality salted butter, softened
4 Tbsp olive oil
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar and add the warm water (at 100 F). Let it rest for five minutes until yeast is frothy. In a large bowl of a stand-mixer, mix the flours with the salt and make a well in the center. Pour in this well the yeast mixture and olive oil. Attach the dough hook in the stand mixer and knead the dough until incorporated about 3 to 4 minutes. If you doing it by hand, mix the ingredients with a fork and then knead in a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes.
Place dough in a large bowl, greased with olive oil, flipping the dough over to be well coated. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel and leave it to rest in a warm place for about one hour, or until dough is double sized.
You can make the knots after that time or place it in the fridge to rise overnight. If you intend to use the dough all at once go ahead and start rolling all the dough. Otherwise, take half of it (will make about 9 knots) or whatever quantity you want to bake at the moment and keep the rest in the fridge until ready to use. You can also use half dough to make knots and the other half to make a crusty pizza.
When ready to make the knots, roll out the dough in a floured surface into a square shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Use a pizza cutter to slice the stripes. If you’re using all the dough is better to cut it in half and roll out half at a time and make about 8 or 9 stripes of each. Tie a knot in the center of the dough, make another knot it’s still long or just wrap the ends under the knot. Proceed for the rest of the stripes. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
In this meantime, preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets (or one if using half dough) with parchment paper.
Prepare the basil-garlic mixture.Peel and mince 8 to 10 garlic cloves, add olive oil and butter, just slightly softened, and the fresh basil, chopped. Mix everything with a fork (use half quantity if making half dough).
Place the knots in the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, until almost done. Remove from oven, toss the basil-garlic mixture on top and put back in the oven for more 3 minutes, until garlic smooths a little. Serve warm.