Braided pesto bread

Barely adapted from Baked by Rachael

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This bread is layered with earthy basil, toasted pine nuts, and a hint of garlic and then topped with a crunchy, cheesy parmesan lid. Pesto is a favorite around here; we make our own and freeze it to enjoy throughout the winter (and that made this bread even easier to put together). When I saw this bread, which was not only loaded with one of our favorite summer treats, but also braided (so fun to do!), I knew I had to try it out. It was a welcomed afternoon snack; fresh out of the oven, with a dab of soft butter. The next night, I sliced thick pieces in half and made toasted sandwiches with prosciutto, balsamic vinegar mixed with mascarpone, fresh mozzarella, thick tomato slices, and sprouts. It was heavenly.

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Here we go!

Heat water to 115 degrees F. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to proof – about 10 minutes.

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To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, add flours and salt.

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With mixer running on low, slowly add yeast mixture.

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Increase speed to medium high, mixing until dough comes together in a clean ball.

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Shape dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. (my dough was a little sticky here – a little added flour would smooth it out)

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Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

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Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce. (If you have some hidden in your freezer, go ahead and use that!) In a food processor, blend basil and garlic. Add cheese, blend quickly. With the processor on low (and the lid on), slowly drizzle in the olive oil. (Or, if you’re like me, pull some out of the freezer and let it thaw)

On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a 10 x 20 inch rectangle.

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Spread pesto sauce out to 1/2 inch from the edges.

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Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough, tightly pinching edges as you go.

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Using a sharp knife, carefully slice dough into thirds end to end.

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Carefully transfer to a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Braid dough, tucking under the ends.

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Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Lightly cover with a kitchen towel, and allow dough to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 190 F.

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Yield: 1 braided loaf

Ingredients

Loaf

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Pesto (or you can use frozen if you have it)

2 cups fresh packed basil

2 cloves garlic

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Heat water to 115 degrees F. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to proof – about 10 minutes.

To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, add flours and salt. With mixer running on low, slowly add yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium high, mixing until dough comes together in a clean ball. Shape dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce. (If you have some hidden in your freezer, go ahead and use that!) In a food processor, blend basil and garlic. Add cheese, blend quickly. With the processor on low (and the lid on), slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread pesto sauce out to 1/2 inch from the edges. Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough, tightly pinching edges as you go. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice dough into thirds end to end. Carefully transfer to a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Braid dough, tucking under the ends. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Lightly cover with a kitchen towel, and allow dough to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 190 F.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

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Published by

girlkneadsbread

My adventures with bread and the deliciousness of life.

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