Fabulous weekend Pesto Loaf

Bread is a great accompaniment to almost any meal. It’s perfect with a braai, a pasta or on a starter board with delicious pate or cheeses. This recipe is dead easy to make and so delicious – you’ll be delighted you made your own when you tuck into this warm, flavour-filled loaf!

Here’s what goes in

3 cups of cake/general purpose flour

1 sachet of instant dry yeast (10g)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of white sugar

330ml of lukewarm water

A small jar of pesto

1 egg, beaten

Rock salt for dusting

How to do it

Pre-heat your oven to 180* and line and grease a baking sheet. Combine the flour and salt, and then add the yeast and sugar on top so that they can activate with the warm water. Add the water and mix thoroughly until a ball of dough forms. I use a mixer with the bread hook attachment for this, but it is just as easily done by hand. Once well combined, flour your hands and the kitchen counter surface a bit before turning the dough out, just to make sure it’s well mixed. Then place it in a lightly oiled bowl, place a tea towel over it and leave it to rise in a warm area. After about 45 mins, the dough should have doubled in size.

Beat it down gently on a floured surface, and knead it for just a few minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Pull the dough into a long sausage-like shape, approximately 50cm in length. Make an incision down the length of it and spread pesto inside the cavity. Then pinch it closed with your fingers. Place the top and tail of your “sausage”together so that you can find the mid-point of the bread. Criss-cross the 2 layers, again and again, forming a twisted loaf. Precision is not important here. Just make a shape that appeals to you. Squeeze the ends together so that the bread “seals” and doesn’t come apart. Leave your loaf to rise for another 20 minutes.

Now your loaf is ready to bake. Brush it with a little egg wash and sprinkle some coarse salt over the top. It should bake for about half an hour. When it’s ready, it will have taken on a golden brown colour and the top should be quite hard to the touch. If you tap the loaf and hear a hollow sound, it’s done! Allow it to rest for half an hour before serving and enjoy, still slightly warm with a generous helping of butter.

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