Parmesan Pesto Bread: a braided loaf slathered in homemade pesto and parmesan. Perfect for a late summer night.
Of a few things I am certain:
1) I am taking enzyme pills and they make me super nauseous
2) All I want to eat is carbs, because they’re easy on my stomach
3) As a result, I ate close to 1/2 of one of these loaves
So you see, my judgement may be slightly impaired. I’m a carb-o-holic right now. But this loaf is EVERYTHING.
I’ve always been a pesto fan. It’s just perfect- loads of basil ground with pine nuts and olive oil. It’s umami and fragrant and fresh and rich all at the same time.
So when my sister, who works at a farm, brought home the biggest basil bunch I’ve ever seen (the leaves were the size of maple leaves!), I knew just what to do.
And it’s also because I have had bread on the brain for the last, oh, three weeks.
This loaf is perfect for a late summer dinner. It combines that herbaceous taste that is so summery with a light and artistic bread. Oh, and there’s a boatload of parm involved.
I mean, nothing can go wrong when parm is involved. In fact, it makes everything right.
Hope you all have fantastic weekends. If you need to reach me, I’ll be hanging with this bread.
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For the bread
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant active yeast
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups flour
For the pesto
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- In a small bowl, microwave the milk, water, and sugar for 45 seconds, until it is warm but not hot. Add in yeast and stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should foam, signaling that the yeast is active. Then, stir in oil, egg, and salt.
- Pour mixture into a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the flour 1 cup at a time. Let the dough knead for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and slightly sticky but firm enough to hold together in a ball.
- Coat a large bowl with oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area to proof for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- While dough is proofing, make your pesto. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except parmesan, pulsing until they come together. Set aside.
- Line two bread pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Flour a large work surface. Roll the dough out into a 12 inch by 20 inch rectangle. Smear the pesto over the dough, coating it evenly. Sprinkle the parmesan on top.
- Roll the dough into a log (so the log is 20" long). Using a serrated knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise (you will end up with two very long half cylinders). Carefully fold one half-cylinder over the other, keeping the cut side face up, the repeat with the other side, forming a long twist.
- Cut the twist in half so you have two 10" twists. Carefully place each twist into the lined bread pans, then loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise a second time in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown. You'll want a deep golden color, as the outside of the loaf can be cooked and the inside still doughy. Use your discretion.