Looking for the perfect bread to serve with soup or salad ? Or make this plaited white loaf to serve at barbecues, picnics and at family gatherings. It’s most definitely a crowd pleaser. You can vary the pesto ingredients to suit your taste and what’s in your fridge and larder.
* Best eaten on the day it’s baked however it does freeze well.
Plaited Pesto Bread
- 23cm cake tin and parchment paper
- 500 g Strong white bread flour
- 8 g sea salt
- 12 g fresh bakers yeast or 7g fast action
- 350 g water 37C
- 2 Tbls olive oil
- 220 g Pesto of your choice I used wild garlic and rocket
- Measure the flour in a large bowl, mix in the salt on one side of the bowl. Now on the other side rub in the fresh yeast, as you would butter into flour when making crumble. If you’re using fast action just scatter it in. Weigh the water as this is far more accurate. Then add the oil. Pour into the flour, with one hand bring the dough together.
- Once the dough has formed, tip the whole lot onto the work surface and proceed to work the dough. Knead for 5-8 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. (You can do this in a free-standing mixer with a dough hook attached). Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Prove for 30 minutes.
- After Proving tip the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knock the dough back and form into a rectangle. Begin to roll, making sure it’s not sticking underneath. if it is lift the dough and scatter a little more flour under the dough. Roll until it's approximately 50 x 30cm in size.
- Spread the pesto all over the surface of the dough. Then proceed to roll into a fairly tight sausage.
- Now take a serrated knife and cut all the way down the centre as shown below. Twist the halves and then roll into a tight ball, tucking the end underneath. Place into a 23cm cake tin lined with baking parchment. Prove from anything between 45-90 minutes, depending on your room temperature. It should be almost double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 220C fan. Place in the oven and bake at this temperature for 6 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve warm if you can, it’ll be gone in five minutes flat!
* You can find a video on how to make this on my instagram highlights.