Sometimes a simple bread is all you need to reset yourself. Bread is strongly connected with my core since my childhood memories see my grandmother making bread at least once a week. She had this huge clay oven and she made bread and braided small loaves for the kids. She always said: “don’t be afraid of the dough, what could it go wrong? If anything, you simply knead it again and start all over”. She had a very simple way of seeing things, but she was so right in so many aspects! Moreover, my uncle used to be a bread baker when I was a kid. He would work in .a proper bakery, so often times, when me and my cousin finished classes, we would go to the bakery where they had this cosy bead near the oven and we would just lay there and eat freshly made bread with all the heat from the oven resting our bones and the smell of freshly baked bread helping us fall asleep. I recall the huge oven and the flames inside it sometimes, I remember how big the breads were and how the breadcrumb would crack when we cut slices, how sweet and moist the crumb was. So as you can see, bread is comfort food for me, it sends me to childhood instantly and puts a smile on my face, it brings back pieces of a happy childhood.
This pesto bread is far from what my grandmother would make, bless her soul, but it is still delicious and it is here to show you just how good and versatile bread is. You can make your own pesto or buy it, you can even use a mix of cheeses only or an olive paste. Just have fun with the fillings, what could go wrong?! As long as you have a good base for the bread – the dough – the filling could be anything. Sure, it may not be what professionals bakers would do (and believe me, it’s not; bakery can be so detailed and interesting, but daunting at the same time if you lack the drive to learn it), but it feeds my family and I do it solely for the purpose of knowing what ingredients go in my bread. Chapeau for every baker out there and for their hard work to feed us all!
- 400 g water lukewarm
- 20 fresh yeast
- 600 g bread flour
- 8 g salt
- 50 g olive oil
- 150 g pesto
- Combine the water with the yeast until the latter is dissolved.
- Add the flour and mix well with a spatula, adding the salt as well.
- Transfer in the bowl of your mixer and knead for 10 minutes at second speed, adding a touch of olive oil while is is being kneaded.
- Transfer the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hours at room temperature.
- Cut the dough in 2 equal portions.
- Roll out each half of dough into 0.5cm thickness then spread the pesto on both sides. Roll each piece tightly then braid the two parts to form the loaf.
- Place the bread in a loaf pan (25-30cm in length) lined with baking paper.
- Allow to rise for 1 more hour or until double in volume (at room temperature) then brush with egg wash.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes.
- Allow to cool down in the pan for 10 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Cool down before slicing.