Pesto Twist Bread

I’m turning over a new loaf.

(Sorry…)

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This year, I want to bake more bread- starting now. This is the first step in my 2015 exploration into bread.

Actually- that’s a lie- I baked this exact same bread last weekend. But there were all kinds of issues: overproved (I think?!), not enough salt… I baked it not in a tin, so it was kind of just like some weird flat thing. Not good.

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This is attempt number two. I’ve made some pretty serious changes, and now it’s amazing (if I do say so myself!) It’s the perfect lunchtime bread, to eat with cheese. Think savoury cinnamon roll (that kinda texture- sort bread which almost flakes apart in pesto-y layers). You’re left with a beautiful greyish swirl inside the bread, as well as the most impressive looking top anyone’s every seen. Pesto, bread and cheese, what could be better?

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Please join me in ushering in the new year (albeit about two weeks late)!

Pesto Twist Bread

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For the pesto:

1 small clove of garlic

pinch of sea salt

pinch of pepper

about 3 handfuls of basil

1 handful of pine nuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pulse together all the ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and mixed together, and pesto consistency!

For the bread:

200g wholegrain bread flour

50g white flour

1 teaspoon quick dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons butter

Put both flours, the yeast, salt, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in about 150ml warm water- not too hot, just hand warm. Begin mixing until it starts to come together into a dough. Add more water if necessary. It should be soft but not too wet.

Once it has formed a ball, knead on a lightly floured surface for at least 10 minutes. The longer the better, I always think! Leave the dough to rise in an oiled bowl for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the it has doubled in size.

Once it has risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll it out to a rectangle- it should be about 1 cm thick. Spread a thick layer of pesto over the dough, then roll it up like a sausage.

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Cut the dough sausage in half lengthways to expose the pesto inside, then twist the two strands together. Have the exposed pesto facing the top. Lightly oil a loaf tin, then lay the twist in the tin. You’ll probably need to wrap it around a bit, but just sort of shove it in- rustic is good!

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Preheat the oven to 210 degrees, then, right before putting the bread in, fill a roasting tray with water and put it in the bottom of the oven to create steam. This will give the bread a crunchy crust. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees, put the loaf in and bake for about 30 minutes. When it’s cooked, it should be slightly brown on top, and make a hollow sound when the bottom is tapped.

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Enjoy straight from the oven!

xxR

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