Garlic Knots with Beer Cheddar Sauce | The Candid Appetite

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I always have food on my mind. It seems like itís the only thing I can ever really think about. Even after Iíve just eaten, I start to brainstorm about what Iím going to eat next. And what Iíll eat after that. And after that. And after that. All that deep thinking makes me hungry. Itís just an endless cycle. One that I canít seem to shake myself out ofónot that Iím complaining because thinking about food twenty four hours a day isnít so bad when you really think about it. What shall I have for dinner tomorrow? How long until breakfast? And would it be okay if I ate two lunches today because Iím really hungry? The answer to which is always yes, two lunches is definitely okay. In fact I highly recommend it becauseÖum hello, two lunches. Whatís there to complain about? Letís get on this two lunches thing as soon as possible, people. Letís make it happen. I want to live in a society where itís perfectly acceptable to have two lunches without judgement or fear of being talked about. Iím not sure but I think I just invented two lunches.

Iím constantly on the lookout for any possible situation that would allow me to eat bread, and lots of it too. I wouldnít say Iím addicted to bread, but letís just say I canít get enough of it and Iíd be dead if bread had never been invented. Dead, I tell you. Okay, so maybe in some parts of the world this is considered to be an addiction. I like to refer to it as a healthy appreciation for the really good things in life. Nothing wrong with that. Fresh baked bread right out of the oven is like a lethal weapon. Stand back. Homemade bread that youíve taken a lot of time and effort to make is the best treat on earth. Soft pillows of bread drenched in a flavorful garlic butter sauce with fresh parsley, well thatís just sinful.

I just recently got back from a trip to Asheville, NC, getting some work done with a friend. I remember the first night I got in, we went out to eat pizza and have some beer because I was starving and because I happen to love pizza and beer. We sat down and ordered our extra-large pizza (pepperoni with pineapple, itís a thing, get used to it) and we got a pitcher of beer because we were thirsty. We were both super hungry so we thought about it for a split second, thatís all it really took to convince us, and decided upon ordering pretzels as well because we didnít think thereíd be enough bread in the pizza itself. SO we told the waitress we wanted the pretzels as well and she offered us a beer cheese sauce (magic) to go along with it. We didnít even have to think about it twice. Well if Iím being honest, I actually said no but my friend said yes. Ultimately the cheese sauce and pretzels arrived at the table and I ended up eating ALL of the beer cheese sauce myself. I donít even remember saying no to it, thank you very much. I always wanted it. I realized then and there in North Carolina that bread should always be dipped into a beer cheese sauce. So I got back home and knew that I needed to make a bread of some sort for the blog but only because I needed an excuse to make a beer cheese sauce for dipping. Thatís when these garlic knots came into the picture. I regret nothing. As it turns out, garlic knots and beer cheddar cheese sauce are meant to be together. Like two lost souls, finally reunited. Letís hear it for bread and cheese and garlic and butter and beer!

We going to start this bread making process by waking up the yeast. Weíre going to use active dry yeast, and in order for it to work properly, we need to make it un-dry. Yes, un-dry. Throw some warm water into a small bowl.

**Tip: Make sure the water is warm enough to waken up the yeast, but not too hot to kill it. I like to run my fingers through the running water and if itís just bearably warm, you should be good to go. You donít want the water too cold or cool either, because then it wonít activate the yeast at all. Itís a thin fickle line between the two.**

Sprinkle in the yeast, and the honey (because yeast needs food just like you and me and it loves to eat things like sugar or honey) and then give it a gentle stir to dissolve.

Allow the yeast mixture to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes in a warm place, until it is forthy and foamy.

**Tip: I like to place it to rest in the oven (turned off) because itís warm enough, dark and draft free. If your yeast mixture doesnít froth or foam up after the ten minutes are up, toss the mixture and start from scratch. Itís important for the yeast to activate properly or else the dough wonít rise later on.**

Letís now mix together the rest of the ingredients. Dump the all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl. Iím doing this by hand because I want to prove how easy it is, but you can also just mix this together with a stand mixer, attached with the dough hook. Thatíll probably be easier for you. I wonít judge you for using a machine while I just used my arm and a wooden spoon. Whoís keeping track?

Add the salt to the flour.

Throw in the olive oil, and the yeast mixture from earlier.

Stir everything with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Mix for about 5 to 10 minutes. If youíre mixing by hand, you can stop after five minutes and rest for a bit before continuing on. Mix until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is somewhat smooth. It doesnít have to be perfectly soft and smooth, just yet.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (somewhere to knead). Get all up in the doughís face and knead for several minutes until itís smooth and elastic. Take out all your frustrations and anger on the dough. Go ahead, thatís what itís there for. Thatís the best part about making dough at home. Kneading it like youíve never kneaded before and never will again. Am I making sense anymore? I canít tell.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (somewhere to knead). Get all up in the doughís face and knead for several minutes until itís smooth and elastic. Take out all your frustrations and anger on the dough. Go ahead, thatís what itís there for. Thatís the best part about making dough at home. Kneading it like youíve never kneaded before and never will again. Am I making sense anymore? I canít tell.

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