The 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!
• Geraldine Ferraro
• Classic Coke
• The Challenger
• 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:
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
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.
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!
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.
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…
…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.
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…
…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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
So, here’s my final nod to the 1980s: Ebony and Ivory! (And if you don’t know what that is, Wiki awaits you.)
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!