This platonic ideal of garlic bread from Milo & Olive in Santa Monica works with any basic pizza dough, either homemade or purchased. The trick is to be generous with the garlic oil, both before and after the baking (toss any leftover oil with pasta or serve with crusty, warm bread). The knots are terrific eaten with tomato sauce or alone with more garlic oil.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, make the garlic confit and oil: Combine the garlic, oil and thyme sprigs in a small, heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. If the oil does not cover the garlic completely, add a little more oil to ensure it cooks evenly. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is light brown and tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Watch closely so the oil doesn’t get too hot and burn the garlic. If it starts to, lower the heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the garlic and oil cool for 20 minutes. Pour the oil and garlic through a sieve into a bowl and reserve each separately to cool completely; discard the thyme.
While the garlic and oil cool, divide the rested dough into four 5-ounce pieces, then reshape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured work surface. Drape a kitchen towel over the dough balls and let rest for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut four 8-inch pieces of kitchen twine and set aside. Uncover the dough balls and flatten each piece into a 5- to 6-inch round, using a rolling pin if needed. Spoon 1/4 cup garlic confit into the center of each disk, then top each with 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves and a good pinch of salt.
Make a purse by folding the dough in half so that it forms a half-moon shape, with the curved side up and the flat side on the table. Starting at one side, crimp the dough along the folded edge until you reach the middle, then repeat on the other side. You should end up with a little purse and a “knot” at the top. Use a piece of the twine to gently tie the base of the knot so that it holds the entire folded edge of the dough together. Dip the bottom of the knot in semolina and brush the top with 1/2 tablespoon garlic oil. Repeat with the remaining dough, garlic confit and 1 ½ tablespoons garlic oil.
Place the knots, spaced a few inches apart, on a heavy-bottomed enamel or glass baking dish or sauté pan and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic oil. Sprinkle with salt and the remaining teaspoon thyme leaves. Serve hot with more oil and warm tomato sauce if you’d like.
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