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Okay, okay. So maybe that title is a little bit of a lie. I made these into knots, so they’re not really rolls. But people don’t search for “dinner knots” on Google (that sounds kind of awful), so I stuck with rolls.
To be fair, you could totally make these into regular ol’ rolls. They would be amazing. And it would save you like 6.5 minutes of prep time.
Or, you could spend the extra 6.5 minutes required to turn this easy dough into something that will make your guests/spouse/kids go, “Wowwwww.” Knots are a traditional shape for making rolls, and once you’ve got the technique down, that little bit of extra effort really pays off.
So, yeah. Knots.
Do you want to know what’s going on in that photo up there? I do.
I’m brushing the baked knot rolls with some melted roasted garlic “butter,” made with dairy-free vegan margarine. Um, yes please.
And that up there ^^ is roasted garlic. I don’t roast my garlic like most people do – you know, a whole head of garlic in the oven covered in foil for an hour. And that’s because I don’t usually want a whole head’s worth every time I want roasted garlic.
Instead, I do it like I learned from my favorite Mexican cookbook, Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen.
To roast the garlic, all you do is put some cloves with the skins on in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and let them cook for about 15 minutes, turning every now and then. The goal is to get them to blacken just a bit on each side. When they’re done, each clove will be nice and soft, and the skin will fall right off. Voila! Roasted garlic in just the right proportion for whatever you’re making.
This recipe uses the flavorful ingredient twice – first, in the dough itself, and second, in the melted roasted garlic “butter” that gets brushed on top. SO GOOD.
Moving on: The dough. If you’ve ever made any kind of bread before, this recipe will be a breeze. It’s pretty standard. If you’ve never made bread before, this is a good place to start!
The dough is really soft, and easy to work. Not too sticky, not too stiff. It also has some amazing flavor components in it, like Italian herbs, nutritional yeast (for a delicious vegan cheese alternative!), and a bit of olive oil.
You really never can have too much of that olive oil.
The trick to making these knots is rolling out the dough like I illustrate in the photos below. When you do that, it is SO EASY to make the long ropes that you’ll need.
Instead of having to make long ropes from little balls of dough with gluten structures that will be fighting you the whole way, with this method you actually start with the shape you’re trying to achieve in the end. Duh!
This won’t work for certain kinds of artisan breadmaking, but for this recipe, it’s a cinch!
If you’re not making these into knots and you’re doing rolls instead, you’ll skip this part. See the recipe instructions below.
So, after you roll it out, you cut it into strips that are about 1 inch wide, make those into more rounded ropes, and tie the knots. Hopefully, these pictures will help you understand how to tie them, because explaining this in words in greater detail might be a bit difficult. Here we go!
How to Make Bread Knots:
Step 1: Create a rope by lightly rolling one strip of dough horizontally.
Step 2: Make a knot in the middle like you’d make the first knot when you’re tying your shoe.
Step 3: Take the end that comes out the bottom and bring it over the top and into the middle. Take the other end that comes out the top and wrap it under the bottom. Pinch to secure.
Step 4: Gently adjust so that it looks even and well formed.
Step 5: Repeat until (you get better at it and) run out of dough. Ta-da!
And after proofing. They look way prettier after proofing.
And then, after baking. And brushing with Amazing Roasted Garlic Melted “Butter” and sprinkling with a bit of sea salt. I’m not sure that it gets much better than this.
Ok, so now we have to talk about it. Thanksgiving is coming up. I know you didn’t want to talk about it because you’ve been avoiding thinking about 1) the traveling, 2) all the family time, or 3) all the food you have to make, but it’s coming up. We have to talk about it.
When your grandma tells you that you should bring over a nice appetizer for Thanksgiving, you should bring these. When your aunt tells you that you should bring a side dish, you should bring these. When your sister tells you that you should bring a salad, you should say screw off and bring these. Because there are never
too many enough rolls on the table on Thanksgiving, and there certainly aren’t any as delicious as these.
Ok, we talked about it. We’re done.
One thing I didn’t mention, but that you probably noticed from the title is that these are vegan. If you’re not vegan, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make these the exact same way, and you will still enjoy them.
But just in case you don’t have some of these ingredients on hand, if you insist, you can just use regular butter, and substitute 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese in place of the nutritional yeast. It’ll taste just as wonderful.
Spread them with more butter, or break off chunks and dip them in an herb-infused olive oil. Enjoy, bakers.Print
These Vegan Roasted Garlic and Herb Dinner Rolls are so good! They’re also easier than you’d think to make, in a traditional roll shape, or into these pretty knots. I LOVE the knots – they look so fancy but really aren’t much more work at all!
For the Rolls:
- 3 cups (12 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp potato flour*
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp (1 fl oz) olive oil
- 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) almond milk*
- 3 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
For the Roasted Garlic “Butter”:
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
- 2 Tbsp melted vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- sea salt, to taste
- Place all the garlic cloves (5 total) in a heavy skillet (I prefer cast iron or carbon steel) over medium-high heat. Cook, turning every few minutes, until blackened in spots on all sides. Let cool, then remove the skins.
- Combine the flour, potato flour, sugar, yeast, salt, herbs, and nutritional yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer*. Add the remaining bread ingredients, including the 3 cloves of mashed garlic, and mix together to form a shaggy dough (a Danish dough whisk is the best tool for this job).
- Attach your dough hook to your mixer and knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes, until a smooth dough forms*. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and use your hands (I recommend oiling them with spray oil) to shape into a ball. Oil the same bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- When the dough is finished proofing, turn out onto an oiled cutting board. Use your hands to press into a rough rectangle,, then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a 13-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough longways into 1-inch-wide strips.
- Follow the instructions and photographs in the text above to tie the knots. Arrange them on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart, then spray with spray oil and cover completely with plastic wrap.*
- Let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake for 17 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- While the rolls bake, combine the melted margarine with the remaining mashed roasted garlic.
- When the rolls are done baking, transfer them to a cooking rack and brush with the roasted garlic “butter.” Enjoy immediately!
– Potato flour makes the bread more tender. If you don’t have potato flour, you can just replace it with an equal amount of AP flour.
– You can do this by hand, it’s just a bit messier. Kneading will take about 12-15 minutes.
– I combine the water and almond milk and then microwave for 45 seconds.
– To make these as more traditional round rolls, simply divide the dough after the first rise into 8 even portions. Roll into balls, then place in an oiled cake or pie pan with vertical sides. Proof until doubled again, then bake at 350°F until golden brown.
– If you want to make these ahead, freeze them on a baking sheet just after shaping. To cook, set out on a sheet pan for about 1.5 hours to defrost, then bake as instructed above.
- Category: Breads
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: dinner rolls, vegan, holiday sides, thanksgiving
Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on Novevmer 18, 2015. Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 4:09 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).