Pesto Braided BreadYum
This is one recipe that could work solely on visual appeal. The beautiful twists and turns of braided bread is something very special. But when it’s packed full of lovely, aromatic pesto? Even better!
Braided bread is certainly an easy loaf to whip up too. I made this on a Friday morning, knowing I had 2 and a half hours before classes started, and it was out of the oven in no time. Most of that time is proving anyway, so you can be doing whatever you like during those times too. Perfect!
I love pesto. So many dinners during my childhood, all I requested was spaghetti with pesto – it’s always been a firm favourite. Naturally enough, I was more than eager to fill this bread full of the stuff.
One little tip, don’t use a pesto that’s too oily. If you can’t find one that’s fairly dry, just make your own. It must be the easiest recipe out there!
Not a basil pesto fan? No problem! Use red pesto, black olive tapenade, or even something sweet to flavour your loaf for a different twist. The notion of a black olive tapenade braided bread makes me weak at the knees. Definitely one for the list!
Immediately, this loaf was calling out to me as the perfect vessel for garlic butter, to make a truly cracking garlic bread. Imagine that on the side of a lovely pasta! Or use it for lunch for sandwiches with a twist. Toast it up and make it the base for bruschetta – the possibilities are endless!
Plus, when a bread recipe is so quick, easy and adaptable, you know it’s one you’ll use again and again. As always, experiment with flavours, shapes, and techniques, and see what you can come up with. Can’t decide on a filling? Split your dough into sections and make bread rolls, each with a different flavouring – a lovely accompaniment to any meal.
- 340g strong white bread flour
- 290 mls warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 1tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion granules
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Green Pesto, for filling
- Stir the agave syrup into the warm water. Add the yeast, and allow it to sit until it froths up (around 5 minutes).
- In the bowl of a stand mixture, whisk together the flour, salt, onion granules and garlic powder.
- Make a well in the centre, and add the yeast mixture.
- Using the dough hook and your stand mixture, knead the dough until it becomes smooth, elastic, and not too sticky (around 7 minutes). You can do this by hand, but it will take longer.
- Transfer the dough to an lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (around 1 hour).
- Once risen, knock back the dough and roll out into a rectangle (roughly the length of your bread tin, and twice as wide as it is long.
- Spread generously with pesto, leaving around 2cms of clear space around the edge of the dough. Roll up the dough, starting from the short end. You want to end up with a swiss-roll style bit of dough.
- Slice the dough right down the centre, leaving 2 long semi-circles shapes of dough.
- Twist the two pieces of dough around each other, creating a long twist shapes. Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bread tin, cover with clingfilm, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
- Just before baking, preheat your oven to 200C/395F.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is a deep golden colour and cooked through. If the crust is colouring too quickly, cover the tin with some tin foil to slow the cooking for the crust.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Slice, and enjoy!