Hi, this is Steve – Lou’s better half. I have been involved in the Belleau Kitchen random recipe challenge and have actually found it very interesting in that it’s made me make things from our cookery books which I would balk at as being outwith my comfort zone. It’s like when you have loads of books that you keep meaning to get around to reading but never do and then end up donating them to charity because you have no room left in the house. I feel I’m finally getting value for money!
Anyway – about the recipe: the pesto bread was fine, but not mind-blowing. I do make quite a bit of bread but have never tried mixing pesto into the dough. I used jarred pesto so it may have tasted a bit sharper if I had either made my own or even just bought some fresh pesto.
To be honest, I prefer a bit more texture in my bread and the pesto bread didn’t really have this. It might go very well with pasta and sauce, given the similar type of flavourings.
Pesto Bread – for 2 loaves
20g fresh yeast
500g strong white plain flour
1-2 tsp salt
250ml warm water
2 tbs olive oil
Activate the yeast in the water – should take no more than 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the flour and the salt. Then, add the water and yeast, the olive oil and the pesto. Bring together until all combined and then turn out onto a work surface and knead. Once the dough is quite velvety and smooth, put it in an oil-lined bowl and cover. Leave to rise for about 1 ¼ hours. After it has risen, knock the air out gently and then divide the dough in two. Place on a baking tray, cover and leave to rise for about ½ hour. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8. Once risen for the second time, put in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to gas mark 6. Bake for 30-40 minutes. When ready, the bottom of the bread should sound hollow when tapped (apparently).