Pesto Bread

Pesto Bread

Pesto Bread
This is a pull-apart style picnic bread which has a chewy, intense basil flavour.  I have used a store-bought pesto here as it is in al honesty more realistic and makes the whole process far simpler.  I do love homemade pesto and make it a lot in high summer, but when basil is not in season and you still crave a good whack of basil flavour there is no shame in a good quality purchased one...

Pesto BreadFor the dough:
400 grams 00 or Bakers flour
100 grams wholemeal flour
400mls warm water
1 ½  tablespoons butter or oil
1 dessertspoon of yeast
1 teaspoon of raw sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
4ish tablespoons of pesto (or about half a small jar)
3 tablespoons low fat feta
A few chilli flakes (Optional of course, but pretty)

Pre-heat oven to 220°C

I have stipulated the low fat feta as it is less likely to ooze into your bread and therefore will not make your bread soggy – but please use whatever you fancy.

Sift flour into a large mixing bowl with salt, making a well in the centre.  Add yeast to warm water, stirring in sugar.  Allow yeast to develop undisturbed in a warm place, once frothy and doubled in size add to flour and rapidly cut through with a knife.  When the dough comes together, add the butter, kneading the dough well by pulling/pushing the dough away from you to stretch out the gluten in the flour and make the dough more delicate and pastry like.

Once all flour is combined and the dough is soft and malleable, cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for at least an hour.

When the dough is puffed up and very soft, divide into four equal parts and roll into fat sausages.  Cut a groove down the middle of each sausage of dough and spoon in a little pesto and crumble in the feta.
Roll two of the sausages to hide the pesto filling and leave two as is.   

Plait together the four strands of dough, alternating between visible and invisible pesto flavouring until the plait is complete. Transfer the dough onto a lined baking sheet and tuck the ends of the plait together forming a rough circle. Trickle over a little oil – the oil from the top of the pesto is perfect.

 Pesto Bread
Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat down to 165°C and bake for a further 15 minutes.  Once lightly browned, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  

Sadly, this bread does taste better once cool, so you'll have to wait a bit before you can eat it....