I don’t bake often but I do like trying new things, this braided loaf is just sooo yummy! it is perfect for brunch dipped in some extra virgin quality olive oil. Homemade pesto is just soo delish and fresh but I had not used it in bread before.
Making your own pesto is soo easy peasy: toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper and voila! I don’t use garlic in any of my cooking ( I know some of you now gasped for air) I just don’t digest it. Wizz it all in a food processor and done!
For this bread you do need a bit of time to rest and proof the dough but otherwise it is rather simple. Have a go and let me know how it went?
My braided pesto loaf
- 250 ml water temperature about 45C degrees
- 4 gr active dry yeast ( half a sachet)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 200 gr all purpose flour
- 100 gr white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60 gr parmesan, grated (reserve some for sprinkling on top)
- 1 large bustle fresh basil
- 30 gr pine nuts, toasted
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Dissolve the yeast with sugar in the warm water, allow the yeast to proof for a little
- Add flour and salt into a bowl, use a stand or hand mixer with dough attachment on medium speed while adding slowly the yeast mixture. Increase the speed or turn out the dough and kneed by hand till it forms a clean ball.
- Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour till it has doubled in size.
- Prepare the pesto by blending the fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and add olive oil gradually. Make sure not to make the pesto to liquid. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll out the dough in a rectangle, spread the pesto evenly. Roll the dough starting at the short edge. Pinch the ends as you roll. Slice the roll in two lengthwise and braid. Transfer to a lightly greased tin ( 15 cm) , sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover lightly. Let rise for about 30 minutes.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in pre heated oven at 180 C degrees, cover midway with aluminum foil to avoid burning the top. Cool on wire rack and serve with some virgin olive oil.
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals.