Braided basil-pesto bread

In a rush? Use shop-bought pesto and bread dough to save time, if you prefer.

   More than 1 hour

  Serves 8

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 Ingredients:

Pesto: 

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ packet (50g) blanched almonds
  • 1½ cups (38g) basil leaves
  • 5 Tbsp (75ml) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 cup (60g) parmesan, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Salt and milled pepper

 

Bread:

  • 4 cups (600g) white bread flour
  • ¾ packet (7g) instant yeast 
  • ½ tsp (7ml) salt
  • 1⅓ cups (330ml) lukewarm water

 

Method:

  1. Place pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. 
  2. Refrigerate with a thin layer of olive oil covering the surface. 
  3. Place flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. 
  4. Add lukewarm water while mixing with a dough hook. 
  5. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until smooth. 
  6. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Roll out dough on a floured surface into a 5mm-thick square. 
  8. Brush with ⅔ cup (160ml) pesto, sprinkle with parmesan and season, leaving a 3cm border on one end. 
  9. Roll dough towards the open border. 
  10. Cut in half horizontally. 
  11. Braid halves, cut side facing up. 
  12. Place on a lined baking tray. 
  13. Roll into a ring and scrunch edges together tightly.
  14. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 15-20 minutes to proof and puff up slightly. 
  15. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  16. Brush with olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden. 
  17. Serve hot out of the oven – no butter needed!

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