Garlic knots are a food created from the same type of dough used for pizza. The dough is not a sweet pie dough, but a firmer type, which will hold ingredients such as garlic and butter without crusting during baking. The ingredients soak into the knot in the oven and saturate through the porous material. Butter, oil, garlic and salt are common ingredients included in garlic knots.
Creating garlic knots requires pizza dough, which is rolled into approximately two- to five-inch-long (5.08 to 12.7 cm) logs on a flat surface. After the logs are formed, the dough is knotted gently in the same manner as knotting a rope or string. If the knots break, the dough is rolled again into a thicker rope and the pressure applied to each end of the rope during knotting is eased to help create a successful knot.
The butter is melted and mixed with salt and garlic. Using a pastry brush, this mixture is spread over the knotted dough and baked at different temperatures, depending on the elevation of the oven from sea level and the desired consistency of the roll by the baker. Real butter contains a greater amount of sodium than a margarine or salt-free variety, so using real butter requires a lesser amount of salt in the recipe.
Oil is used to replace the butter in some garlic knot recipes. Different types of oils bring different flavors to the finished product. Olive oil, which is healthier for the heart and includes healthier fats such as monounsaturated fatty acids, will give the garlic knots a stronger taste than a vegetable oil, which includes more trans fat, added through hydrogenation. Nearly every store-bought vegetable oil variety will be processed with a hydrogenation method, because the oil lasts longer after this process. The oil chosen for the garlic knots will depend on the individual dietary needs and concerns of the bakers and product consumers.
Garlic on top of garlic knots is often grated, but can also be finely chopped or laid over the knots in thin slices. Mixing the garlic with butter or oil is essential to keep the garlic from sliding off the bread. Grated garlic clings best to the dough while sliced garlic will deliver a more pungent taste. Sliced or finely chopped garlic is either mixed with the oil or placed on top of the knot after the oil base is applied over the dough.
Salt applied to the garlic knots is optional; some bakers mix sea salt or iodized table salt into the oil-based mixture before applying it to the dough. Other bakers will sprinkle their choice of salt over the dough after the oil base and garlic are applied. The salt is added to satisfy the taste of the consumers; this makes the use of salt an option. For healthier garlic knots, the salt will be omitted completely.