Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pesto Bread Braid

The next part of this bread dough I turned into pesto bread! This is an impressive-looking recipe that's actually not all that hard to make.

Start with bread dough - about 1/3 of the "basic bread dough" recipe. (If you're keeping track, I've now used 1/2 plus 1/3 of the dough...so yes, there is one sandwich-baggy-full of bread dough still in my fridge!)

Roll it out just like you would for cinnamon rolls. Spread with pesto sauce -- I used the jarred stuff but maybe someday I'll be brave enough to make it on my own! Go pretty light on the pesto...once you start to roll it up it will feel like the pesto has suddenly tripled in volume and is getting everywhere.

Sprinkle with cheese. Cheese makes everything better. I once was at a gym class and the teacher was talking about nutrition, and how she only eats things that contribute to her health. She said that cheese really wasn't good for anything...but I strongly disagree. :)

Roll it up, again just like a cinnamon roll. Here comes the scary part -- slice it down the middle!

You will have two, slightly-messy, slightly-falling-apart strands. Place one on top of the other in a slight X shape, so they cross right at the middle. Then lift the bottom strand over the top one, and keep going until you reach the end. Start at the middle again and lift the bottom strand over the top one, etc. (By the way, starting in the middle helps keep the loaf somewhat evenly shaped. The middle usually still usually winds up fatter than the ends, but at least its symmetrical.)

Gently place your twisted dough rope into a greased baking dish (a cookie sheet works here too). Shape the dough into a loaf by curving it into an "S" shape.

Sprinkle a little more cheese on top, pop it into the oven, and this deliciousness is yours in less than 30 minutes!

Here's what it looks like on the inside:

Seriously, so delicious. A little bit of the olive oil from the pesto leaks out during the baking and gives the crust a wonderful texture. Plus the pesto and the cheese and the bread...YUM.

Pesto Braid Bread
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride

Bread dough
1/3 cup pesto
2 tbsp parmesan cheese + more for the top of loaf.

Roll out the dough to a rectangle, approximately 14" by 10". Spread with pesto and sprinkle with 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Roll up the dough to form one long long. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise. Cross the two strands in the middle and then twist them around each other, lifting each strand over and around the other and trying to keep the pesto part mostly facing up. Place on a greased baking sheet and shape into an S.

Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.

Sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.

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