American Baking Down the Decades, 1980-1989: everything bagels and garlic knots

225-logoThe King Arthur Flour Company marks its 225th anniversary this year. And we’re celebrating by exploring some of America’s favorite recipes, decade by decade, starting in 1900. Join us on this fascinating stroll through American food history.

OK, make believe you can’t see the dates at the top of this post. I’m going to give you some names and phrases; see what springs to mind. Do they sound familiar – like, “wasn’t that just yesterday?” Or are they simply history – and ancient history, at that?

•  Miracle on ice
•  Ride, Sally Ride!
•  Reaganomics
•  Geraldine Ferraro
•  Classic Coke
•  The Challenger
•  Iran-Contra
•  Chicken McNuggets
•  The Berlin Wall
•  Exxon Valdez
•  Pop Secret

Oh, and then there’s Michael Jackson. To say nothing of late ’70s disco, a Boomer-driven musical trend that trickled into the ’80s before dying a (welcome) death.

And BIG HAIR. Ladies, raise your hands if, looking back, the hairstyle you had during this era – yes, the 1980s – was one you’d just as soon forget.

To me, the 1980s are eminently forgettable. My son was born in the 1980s – as were the vast majority of today’s current Millennial generation – but beyond that? Meh.

Thus it was with great joy that I discovered, via Food Timeline, that two of my all-time favorite “small breads” share a birthday: 1988.

Everything bagels and garlic knots, come on down!

Oh, sure, there’s some grumbling about who actually “invented” both of these, and when. After all, who wouldn’t want to claim rights to these bread icons? But this, to the best of my researched knowledge, is the story:

Everything bagels via @kingarthurflour

Vaunted food writer Florence Fabricant of the New York Times is credited with the everything bagel’s first mention in print, when she described it in her Food Notes column on Aug. 3, 1988:

“Arkady Goshchinsky came here from the Soviet Union 11 years ago. Thanks to friends in the bakery-supply business, three years ago [he] wound up with a bagel store in Forest Hills Queens… Now, the Bagel Baron, as his company is called, has a Manhattan location… The ‘everything bagel’ is dusted with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion.” – foodtimeline.org

Garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

The history of garlic knots is a bit more muddled, with various restaurant and bakery owners stretching back to the 1940s claiming authorship. One thing everyone seems to agree on: garlic knots first saw the light of day on Long Island (so long as you count Queens and Brooklyn as part of Long Island).

The story I choose to believe is this: After coming up with garlic knots at his restaurant, Prudente’s in Island Park, Michael Prudente passed the recipe along to his nephew, Frank Vitoli. Vitoli loved them so much that in 1988 he added garlic knots to the menu at his restaurant, Franina’s, in Syosset.

Traditionally made from scraps of pizza dough, these oil/butter-soaked, garlic-doused, cheese-tossed rolls have since become a regular part of the menu at Italian-American restaurants and pizza joints across the nation.

Baking Down the Decades 1980s-4

I couldn’t resist making a batch of each of these breads in honor of this blog post. You know, for inspiration. I hope these culinary hits from the 1980s inspire you to get out your yeast and flour, too. After all, not everything from the ’80s is forgettable!

Baking Down the Decades 1980s-7A

Let’s tackle everything bagels first.

You can use any bagel recipe; I’m using our basic bagel recipe. For everything bagels, though, your key ingredient is “everything”: everything bagel topping, a crunchy, tasty mixture of poppy and sesame seeds, toasted onion, garlic, and salt.

Baking Down the Decades 1980s-5

How do you make the hole in your everything bagel?

No, not by rolling out ropes of dough and joining the ends.

Simply makes balls of dough; let them rise…

How to make everything bagels via @kingarthurflour

…then poke a hole in the center of each one and twirl it on your finger to enlarge the hole. For a visual of this, please see our blog post, how to put the hole in the bagel.

Next step: boiling. Is that important?

Yes; simmering bagels atop the stove is what helps give them both their signature shiny brown crust, and their chewiness. Without boiling, bagels are just doughnut-shaped dinner rolls.

How to make everything bagels via @kingarthurflour

Once you’ve simmered your bagels and returned them to the baking sheet, brush them with an egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water; then sprinkle heavily with the everything topping.

Pop the pan of bagels into a hot (425°F) oven…

How to make everything bagels via @kingarthurflour

…and bake until golden brown, 25 minutes or so.

Notice another benefit of boiling: it sets the bagel’s structure, so the hole doesn’t fill in as the bagels bake.

Baking Down the Decades 1980s-15B

TA-DA! Everything bagels: cream cheese, please.

Now, on to our garlic knots. If you have leftover pizza dough, you can certainly use it. If not, our garlic knots recipe will get you there.

How to make garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

How do you shape garlic knots?

You can divide the dough into pieces and roll each piece into a rope.

Or you can do what I’ve done here: pat/roll the dough into a rectangle and cut it into however many knots you’re planning to make. I’ve cut this batch of dough into 16 pieces.

Round each “rope” under your hands, and tie into a knot, tucking the ends into the center.

For a great visual of this, check out our video: how to shape knots.

How to make garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

OK, so I’m not the best knot-tier! But remember, beauty is only crust deep.

Let the garlic knots rise – but not for too long.

Let the knots rise for about 30 minutes or so; you don’t want them to become really puffy, as the more they rise and the puffier they get, the closer they come to untying themselves once they hit the oven.

How to make garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

Bake the garlic knots – but not for too long.

Bake the knots in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. I like to let them remain light-colored, rather than becoming dark golden brown. That’s because, rather than making knots with leftover pizza dough, I use a softer, dinner-roll type dough, one with milk and oil and potato.

Some like their knots chewy/crunchy; I like mine soft and just moderately chewy.

How to make garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

Drench the knots with melted butter and/or olive oil mixed with copious amounts of crushed garlic.

Some people like to sprinkle herbs or grated cheese on top. Being a passionate lover of “the stinking rose,” I prefer this unadulterated version.

Everything bagels and garlic knots via @kingarthurflour

So, here’s my final nod to the 1980s: Ebony and Ivory! (And if you don’t know what that is, Wiki awaits you.)

Want to make everything bagels? Follow our bagel recipe and read our blog post.

Want to make garlic knots? Follow our garlic knots recipe and read our blog post.

Do you have any favorite memories from the 1980s? If so, please share them in comments, below; maybe that decade’s not as forgettable as I think. And if you can’t remember a blessed thing about the ’80s – I totally understand; I’m with you!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Vivian

    Both my children were born in the early ’80s, so my memories of that decade nearly all revolve around children’s music (on cassette tapes) and Sesame Street, with occasional visits from a babysitter so mommy and daddy could see the latest “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars” movies, and ending the decade with a big move from East to West Coast. Honestly, every time I see pictures of your bagels, I drool and promise myself to give them a try once the weather cools…. 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The weather has already begun to turn here in VT, so it’s almost time follow through with your promise and try your hand at bagel-making! It is incredibly rewarding and you won’t want another store-bought bagel again. We hope you give it a go! Kye@KAF

  2. Lorraine Fina Stevenski

    I still love big hair! I also love big bagels and miss those crusty, chewy NY creations. I remember when I lived in NY going out after 11 pm on Saturday night to pick up my Sunday NY Times and hot fresh bagels around the corner.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sometimes bigger is better, and that is most definitely true with bagels and hair! 🙂 Happy big baking down the decades to you, Lorraine! Kye@KAF

  3. waikikirie

    Funny enough, my friend and I will wish for some 80’s things to return(kinda and maybe after a glass of wine or two, wink, wink): fuller hair, but not ” the mullet”; jewel tones but not leg warmers (well, may need to rethink that one. Not for a fashion statement but for warmth!! Arthritis is now present!) shoulders pads but not the ones that make you look like a Giant’s running back… I met and married my husband in the 80’s and my beloved niece was born in the 80’s…..Have to say, I remember the decade fondly. Too each his own. Will soooooooooo have to make the everything bagel for my husband. One of his favorites. Along with the garlic knots. LOVE them.

    Reply
  4. PJ Ashley

    Can’t wait to try these recipes. I have never baked bagels or garlic knots. Well, time for a new adventure. As for the 80s, I was out of college, 1st job, got married, started cooking. My husband and I both had long hair (his is disappearing now) and I still experiment with recipes. I have a habit of using a recipe as a sort of guideline, but with baking I have discovered following the recipe is pretty important (unless you don’t want everything to look like an earthquake).
    My most disappointing and most remembered pizza EVER….was when I tried to make venison pizza.
    Awful doesn’t even get close!
    Enjoy your lessons on baking and am loving the King Arthur products. Thanks.

    Reply

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