Did you ever get one of those flyer's in the mail advertising a new cookbook? They make them sound so and the pictures are so gorgeous. I fell for it. I ordered A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. I wasn't sorry. It's a wonderful book chock full of amazing recipes. The first one I tried was Pain Pesto.
Start by putting a Tablespoon of rapid rise yeast in the mixing bowl with 1 and quarter cups of warm water and whisk them together. Let that set for a few minutes so the yeast can dissolve.
Add one cup of flour and stir. Then add 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 5 teaspoons of sugar (I actually only used 3, I'm not big on sugar in my savory breads), 2 and 3/4 teaspoons of salt and three more cups of flour (there should be 4 cups total).
Start by just adding 2 and half cups. Depending on the flour, the weather or any number of variables, 3 cups may be too much. It's better to add more flour than it is to add more water. This recipe calls for bread flour but I didn't have any so used AP.
With the dough hook knead the dough for 6-8 minutes.
This dough turned out absolutely perfect. After it all pulls together, form the dough into a ball and put into an oiled bowl, cover in plastic and let rise for about 90 minutes until dough doubles in size.
Gently deflate dough and remove to a lightly floured surface. Let set for 10 minutes. The dough is perfectly soft and pliable. Oh it was just so wonderful to work with! Don't you just love when something comes together so perfectly? Roll it out to a 20 x 20 inch shape and then drizzle with a little olive oil. Then spread the pesto over the dough.
I did use store bought pesto, but come summer when my basil plants are going crazy, you can bet that I will making my own pesto and making this bread again! For now, the Buitoni worked just fine. After the pesto is spread you then roll the dough jellyroll style. Then shape it into an "S" shape (or "U" shape as I did) and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a little olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Let the dough rest for about 45 minutes, until it looks puffy.
Then bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the bread is well browned. It actually only took about 30 minutes.
This bread is amazing! It's soft and chewy, herby and delicious. I had to force myself to stop eating it. It's going to be a wonderful accompaniment to the Asparagus Risotto that I'll be making for dinner tonight.
(courtesy of Marcy Goldman)
1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
1 Tablespoon rapid rise yeast
4 cups (give or take) bread flour (remember, I used AP and it was fine!)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 teaspoons sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 (10 oz) jar of prepared pesto (about a cup - my container was 7 oz. and it was plenty)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese for the top.
Stack two large baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixer bowl, hand whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2-3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add 1 cup flour and stir briefly. Then stir in oil, sugar, salt and most of the remaining flour. Mix ingredients and then attach dough hook and knead on lowest speed 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed.
Remove dough hook from machine and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixer with clear plastic bag (this step seemed so odd to me that I just did what I usually do and took the dough out, formed it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl, covered in plastic and set aside to rise). Let rise for 45-90 minutes or until almost doubled.
Gently deflate dough on a lightly floured surface. Let rest 10 minutes and then roll out to a 20 x 20 inch shape. If dough resists, let it rest a few more minutes then roll out gently. Drizzle some additional olive oil on the dough and then smear on pesto all over dough's surface. Roll up jellyroll style. Shape into an "S" shape and put on prepared baking sheets.
Drizzle oil on top and dust with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
Gently press bread down slightly before it goes into the oven (I did not cover it, nor did I press it down before I put it in the oven). Bake until it is well browned, about 35-45 minutes. Cool to warm on baking sheet before cutting. I dare you to try and wait that long!!!