exPress-o Originals: Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bread

Thursday, March 28, 2013
A while ago I heard that meditation has many forms and the traditional sitting down type is not for everyone or maybe not yet. I read somewhere that the best way to prepare yourself for it is by doing tasks where you can’t cut corners or rush the process. The type that requires certain amount of time at each step or it won’t come out right.

For me - it’s baking bread around noon, barefoot in our kitchen. It’s one of those things that as soon as the flour hits the counter, that overwhelming feeling of calmness, peace and happiness overtakes me. It’s the strangest phenomena. Have you ever felt like that while doing something?
So, here is our new favourite bread recipe. It can have 100.100.000 different combinations, all depending on your taste. This is with homemade red pesto full of dried tomatoes, basil, Pecorino Romano cheese and pine nuts.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bread
(Adapted from Jennifer - Seasons and Suppers)

- 2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 2 cups of wheat flour
- 2 tsp. fine salt or 1 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water, about 95° F.
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast
- 1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter
- 1 jar of homemade or store bought red pesto. Here is the pesto recipe I used.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour and the salt together and set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine the water and the milk and whisk in the yeast until it dissolves.  Add the mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand until the mixture is combined, about 2 minutes. Continue mixing the dough, adding more flour, as needed, until the dough becomes soft, smooth and tacky, but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled/buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature until doubles in size (about 60-90 minutes). 

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Dust each with a bit of flour and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle approximately 10 inches wide and 16 inches long. Spread generously the pesto onto each rectangle and starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the ends together. Next, grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Shaping: Using a sharp knife, cut both rolls of dough down the centre, lengthwise. Rotate each piece so that the two first cut sides are facing upward and place them side-by-side on the bottom of the loaf pan. Next place the two other cut sides but this time with the cut part facing down, so all the cup sides meet in the middle. Pinch together all the parts creating a whole.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 45-50 minutes total, but for the first 30 minutes of baking keep the loaf loosely covered  with a piece of aluminium foil to prevent the top from over-browning.  About 30 minutes into baking remove the aluminium foil and continue baking for the reminder of the time. Remove the bread from the oven and cool it for 1 hour before slicing and eating. Ta dah!

Darlings, would you try it? (It's perfect for Easter).

P.S: Plus: grape bread and the scrumptious bloomin' gooey cheese bread.
P.P.S: And a few other recipes you might like.

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Alexa said...

Oh my gosh. That looks so so good. What a perfect combo.

Anonymous said...

Diana your food posts are so poetic and beautiful. They always make me want to bake more. Thank you..Jill

Diana Mieczan said...

Thanks, Alexa:)

Diana Mieczan said... just made my day, Jill:) Thank you:)

McKenna Lou said...

This looks absolutely mouth watering! I need some in my belly right now. How yummy. xx. McKenna Lou
p.s. We are so excited about our newest giveaway c/o Honey Press! Be sure to check it out:

HiLLjO said...

This looks glorious!!!

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