Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Dad called last week and invited us up to his house for a Halloween dinner.  I already knew that he’d be putting together something fresh, local, and delicious (that’s just his style).  Because he lives off the land, hunts, and dives, I also already knew that most of the food would be meat (because that’s also his style).  As a selective omnivore, I’m open to eating meat if I know where it comes from, but I’m not big on eating huge amounts of meat the way I used to.

In Hawai`i it’s bad style to show up to someone’s house without some sort of offering (usually food). My dad has always been super health–when he was younger he was a well-known boxer on Maui and would run or bike from Hali`imaile to Pa`ia and back on a daily basis.  I used to think he was crazy but now I really appreciate his love for exercise.  Anyway, I wanted to make a side dish for the gathering that would be unique and festive, so I looked through my archives and decided on pumpkin garlic knots (adapted from (neverhome)maker’s recipe).  I wanted to make it a bit healthier so I used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached flour.  I’m pretty sure that is the reason they turned out be a bit tough (in our opinion it was worth the extra nutrients).

This was my first attempt at bread-making, aside from challah, and I’m proud to say that it turned out great!  Ben was really upset that we left all the extra rolls at the party when we left, so I see another batch of these puppies in our near future 😉

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Pumpkin Garlic Knots

[Ingredients]

  • 1 c warm water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 c canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse hawaiian salt
  • 3-1/2 c flour (I used 2 c whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 c unbleached all-purpose)

Whisk together the warm water and yeast in a medium bowl.  Let sit until frothy — about 10 minutes. Then add your agave nectar, olive oil, and pumpkin and whisk until smooth.

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In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt (this is a simpler alternative to “sifting” the ingredients).  Make a puka (hole) in the center that’s big enough to pour the wet ingredients into. Pour in the wet ingredients.

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With a spatula, pull everything together, then use your hands to knead the dough. Add more flour as necessary until you have a ball that’s elastic but not sticky.

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Lightly oil another large bowl and put your dough ball inside it — flipping over once to coat both sides (again — lightly) with oil.

Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

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Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, put in a pizza stone (I used a small stone and a pan, but it works best with a stone).

Now would be a good time to freeze half the dough if you only want to make half the batch [you can freeze this dough for up to three weeks].

Roll small handfuls of dough (about two tablespoons or so–depending on your liking) into long strands, one at a time, then tie the strand into a knot.

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Place your knots onto your stone (or pan) and bake until golden brown on top (time depends on size, but will usually take at least 10 to 15 minutes).

In the meantime, mix together 1/3 cup olive oil with 3 to 5 cloves of minced garlic (or in my case, two cloves of massive organic garlic from the Saturday market the other week), and salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add in parmesan, herbs, or nutritional yeast–get creative!

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[front: massive organic garlic / back: conventional garlic]

When the knots are pau, dump them into the bowl and mix well to coat. Crushing the knots a bit helps the oil seep in.

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Enjoy! Entire recipe yields about 24 glorious dinner-roll-sized knots.

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