This Pesto Pull Apart Bread is a real crowd pleaser, I think tearing big chunks of freshly baked bread slathered in pesto is just about anyones favourite thing to do. I took this bread along to The Secluded Tea Party Unbirthday this weekend as part of the pot luck spread, along with some sundried tomato palmiers (more on that soon). It looks kind of awesome, all big and gnarly on the table and tastes even more awesome.
This bread takes time time to make but if you are confident enough making a normal bread dough then you'll be fine here. It is quite a nice bank holiday activity, something you potter in and out of the kitchen at regular intervals to do the necessary stages.
I've seen this as a sweet filling before too, filled with cinnamon sugar, and also in other savoury ways - sun dried tomato, cheddar & mustard.
Pesto Pull Apart Bread
based on the recipe from Miss Igs
For the dough
1 cup of warm water
1 packet (7g) of fast action yeast
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of strong white bread flour
2 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the pesto
Large handful of fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan)
approx 1/8 cup of grated parmesan or hard cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Mix together the warm water, yeast and oil in a large bowl. Leave for 5 minutes til the yeast starts to bubble.
Then add the bread flour, sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon (or a mixer if you have one, I have one on my wish list!) until all incorporated in to a dough, add the egg in and mix to incorporate again. Your dough might be a bit wet here so add in some more flour to form into more of a kneadable dough. Knead lightly in the bowl for just a couple of minutes. You'll not need to worry so much about kneading if you are using a mixer with a dough hook.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm, dry place for at least an hour to prove. It should double in size.
You need to make your pesto now. Just blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or mini blender. Add some oil to begin with and then add more as you need to loosen the mixture.
After proving knock back the dough, flour a board well and roll out thinly in a rough rounded square. Spread the pesto over the dough.
Cut the dough into 4 long strips. Then pile the strips on top of each other, then cut into little square stacks. Then stack the little squares into a oiled and floured loaf tin. Leave to prove for another 30-40 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 170c / gas mark 3. When it is proved bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Keep an eye on it in case it starts to brown too much, you may need to turn your oven down, mine went quite brown in the end.
Remove from the tin about 5 minutes after it has come out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack. Tear into it when it is still slightly warm / as long as you can bear without eating it.