yields 48 knots
5⅔ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons instant yeast
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
14 large egg yolks, plus 1 large yolk for brushing
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat, at room temperature (from about 1 pound bacon)
5½ ounces raw bacon, diced
6 slices bacon, cooked then finely chopped
Add 14 egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated. Add the bacon fat and continue to mix until fully absorbed. Add the diced raw bacon and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Gently punch down the dough and divide in half. Knead each half briefly until soft and supple.
Portion the dough into 1-ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 6 inches long, then tie into a knot. Place the knots on the parchment-lined pan and brush each lightly with water. Cover the knots loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest at room temperature until they resemble puffy marshmallows, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Generously brush each knot with egg wash, then sprinkle with smoked salt. Bake the knots, rotating the pans 180 degrees at the halfway point, until golden-brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped, cooked bacon and let the knots cool on the pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
bacon recipe source: Tasting Table; adapted from VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers, by Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (Olive Press, 2011)