Pesto Bread

All set for our India Trip, preparing to get drenched in the nostalgic memories of family and friends.
One among the few  wishes I have when I get home, is to see the rain in Kerala.
 Love the smell of Earth the first day when it rains after a long time.
 Am not sure if I’ll be able to see rain as Monsoon there starts only by June
😦  
Longing to taste some Seafood which is one another wish that I have when I get home, hopefully I can enjoy the same as its available all year round.Mussels , Crabs and fresh Sardines are among the top most priority in the list that I have asked my Mom to prepare the day that I reach home 🙂
This Bread is something that I love to make, have made it a couple of times and each time I make it, I take a picture intending to post it here, but haven’t posted it because of some reason.
Today in the midst of packing, I was thinking of things that I’ll miss here and my Blog was the first most among the same,so thought to post something here before I go for vacation.

Found these pics in my drafts,so decided to post this recipe here today.
The reason why I love to make bread is that nice aroma of fresh baked bread which fills the home
also because bread is one of the most preferred food in my family.
Make any filling as you like, a mint chutney would be good too if you don’t prefer making Pesto.

Ingredients 

For Bread

All purpose Flour –  2 and 1/2 cup (May substitute less than half with whole wheat flour)
Active Dry Yeast – 2 and 1/2 tsp
Warm Water – 1 cup to 1 and 1/2 cup
Sugar – 1/4 cup
Olive oil or Vegetable Oil- 1 to 2 Tbsp
Parmesan cheese Powder – For sprinkling after baking (Optional – I didn’t use)

For Mint Basil Pesto

Mint leaves – 1/2 cup
Basil – 1/2 cup
Garlic – 2 cloves
Olive Oil – 2 to 4 Tbsp
Almonds or Pine-nuts – hand full (more or less)
Salt and Pepper Powder to taste

Method

Prepare dough for the Bread

* Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water  (Shouldn’t be hot) , add yeast and allow yeast to rise and get active. (Takes about 5 to 7 Minutes if everything is well)

* Slowly Pour water (with activated yeast) to the flour, add salt and mix using your hands or using a stand mixer with fitted dough attachment, Until the dough comes together to a ball.

* Coat the dough ball with some Olive oil or Vegetable Oil , Cover the bowl with a towel / paper towel or plastic wrap, and keep in a warm place to rise at least for an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

 (During winter, its better to keep the dough to rise in a preheated to warm Oven switch off the temperature before keeping the bowl in the oven to rise, check the oven wrack- if too hot , let it cool before you place the dough to rise)

 Meanwhile prepare the pesto.


   * Grind all ingredients given under Mint Basil Pesto – above to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

* Roll and spread the dough (sprinkle the surface with flour before working with the dough),
   I rolled it to 1/4 to half and inch thickness (roughly)

* Spread the pesto over and tightly roll up the dough.

For the Braided Bread : Use a sharp knife to slice through the dough completely from end to end and braid the dough. Place this braided shaped dough in to a round pan and allow to rise for another 30 Minutes.


For the Loaf – Cut the rolled dough in to 1 inch size circular pieces , arrange these pieces in to a loaf tightly. Allow to rise for another 30 Minutes.

You can braid it or make it to any shapes as you wish (Simply cut the rolled dough in to 1 inch size pieces and arrange these flat in to any round baking tray, to get a cinnamon bread like shape)

*Sprinkle Parmesan cheese (If using) over the top before baking.

* Preheat the Oven to 350 Degree F and Bake for 40 minutes, Cover the bread with a foil loosely when the bread is half done/baked (after 30 minutes).This keeps it from burning the top part.

Its ready!

Store in air tight containers.

Enjoy the goodness of fresh baked soft bread at home 🙂

Notes
       

          : Make sure the yeast is active , that’s when you mix it with lukewarm milk/water , after 5 minutes it should slowly start to rise / should show some changes, I think this is the key step during the making of bread.
        
        :  Also give the dough enough time to rise , it usually happens if the yeast is active , keep it in the warm place, only if it rises can we be sure  that the bread is going to be soft and good in texture. 
        : During winter, its better to keep the dough to rise in a preheated to warm Oven switch off the temperature before keeping the bowl in the oven to rise, check the oven wrack- if too hot , let it cool before you place the dough to rise
         :  Cover the bread with a foil loosely when the bread is half baked (after 30 minutes).This keeps it from burning the top part.

  Happy Baking !
     

Cheers
TN

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