This irresistible pesto bread is crispy outside and soft inside, with a subtle delicious pesto flavor. It's also economical, easy, fun to make, and look pretty too.The recipe yields 4 large rolls/8 smaller rolls
Keyword: Bread Pesto
2 ½ cup(375 grams)all-purpose flour or whole-grain flour (see notes)
1 ¼ tspfine salt
½ cup + 2 Tbsp(150 ml)water, lukewarm
1 tspdry active yeast
1egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbspolive oil
½ cup(100 grams)basil pesto
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp seeds (sesame, chia, poppy...)(optional)
½ Tbspsalt flakes(optional)
Make the dough
In a large bowl, place flour, salt and mix until well combined.
In a small bowl or jug, mix lukewarm water with yeast and sugar. Let it rest for a couple of minutes until foamy.
Then pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, add the beating egg and olive oil, and stir with a fork until roughly combined.
Trasfer the dough onto a work surface, and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth. You might need an extra Tbsp of water, trust your judgment here, but overall the dough should be easily pliable.
Once you shape the dougn into a ball, place it back into its bowl, cover with a damp cloth (to prevent its surface from drying out) and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
Shape the bread rolls
Once the dough is ready, place it onto a large sheet of parchment paper.
Stretch it out with your fingers into a rectangular shape (about 10 x 12 inches).
Spread the pesto on half of the rectangle, then lift the other side of the parchment paper and fold the other half of the dough over the one covered with pesto. Gently flatten the rectangle with your fingers.
Cut the rough edges, than with a pizza cutter cut the rectangle lengthwise into 4 large stripes. At this point, you can cut the 4 stripes crosswise in order to get 8 stripes in total. This will give you 8 smaller rolls rather than 4.
If you keep the stripes long, wrap the dough around your fingers into a loose knot leaving space in the center. Wrap the left end of the dough up and over the loop. Wrap the right end down and under the loop. Try to squeeze into a nice rounded shape. If you cut the stripes shorter, you can easily shape them into spirals.
Topping & baking
Place each roll on to a bakin pan lined with parchment paper, brush them lightly with some egg wash (to keep them moist), and let them rest for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 420°F/220°C.
Before putting the rolls in the hot oven, brush them again with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds, and salt flakes if you wish.
Bake them for about 15-20 minutes until golden.
STORAGE: it keeps well in an air-tight container for up to 2 days. It's also freezable.YEAST: I used dry active yeast in this recipe, but instant yeast works just fine. Follow the manufacture's directions, skip the sugar, and wait until the dough doubles in size.LUKEWARM WATER: in order to activate the yeast, the water should be mildly warm, not too cold not too hot .MEASUREMENTS:I use both US cups and grams. The cups of flour are leveled: fill the measuring cup all the way to the top letting the flour flow over a little. Then, use the back of a knife to level the top off. However, a kitchen scale gives more accurate measurements.FLOUR: all-purpose flour is perfect, but you can use also bread flour, or you can mix all-purpose flour and whole-grain flour (in this case you might 1 or 2 extra Tbsp of water since whole-grain flour absorb more water)WATER ABSORPTION: water absorption is the amount of water taken up by flour and may vary significantly depending on the type of flour, brand, and weather conditions. When you add water to the flour, start with the amount stated in the recipe. If the liquid is not enough to achieve that dough consistency as shown in the pictures above, just add gradually a little extra water until the flour has been incorporated.