Inspired by the garlic knot at Milo and Olive restaurant in Santa Monica, this recipe calls for wrapping up silky garlic confit in a doughy package, baking it until brown and crisp and drizzling it with garlic oil.
For the garlic confit: Combine the garlic, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, chiles and rosemary sprig in a medium saucepan and cover with the olive oil. Cook over low heat until the garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
With tongs, remove the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and chiles and discard. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic to a bowl. Strain the oil into a liquid measuring cup and reserve.
For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until frothy. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic confit oil.
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the flour to the yeast mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing on low speed. Once the flour has settled, raise the speed to high and mix until the dough can be pulled away from the sides of the bowl but is still quite tacky, about 10 minutes.
Grease a large bowl with more of the reserved garlic confit oil, then scrape the dough into the bowl. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place (the top of the fridge is usually good) until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to the highest setting (550 degrees F) with a pizza stone in the lower part of the oven.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and form it into a smooth ball. Cut the dough into 2 equal portions. Each ball will be approximately 12 ounces of dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest until elastic, 10 to 15 minutes.
For the filling: Add the thyme, rosemary, lemon zest and salt to the garlic confit, stirring to combine.
On the floured surface, spread each ball of dough out into about a 10-inch circle. Fill each ball with half of the garlic mixture. Gather up the edges of the dough and pinch together. Then, using butcher string, tie the knots shut. Brush each knot with reserved garlic confit oil.
Place the knots directly onto the pizza stone and bake, checking after 10 minutes and covering with foil if getting too brown, until very darkly caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately in a puddle of the reserved garlic confit oil.