Cheesy pesto bread
How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Thought I’d check in and see where everyone stood. Because like it or not, we are almost officially through the first month of the year, and it’s riiiight about now when I have typically fallen off the wagon.
I’m still working on boosting my confidence, my main goal for 2018, but it requires an everyday reminder that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Success does not come overnight, and expertise is a learned skill.
January brought into my life new clients — some good, some truly awful — and with them came learning experiences. One of the many pros of working for yourself is the ability to choose who I work with, and when. And I refuse to be the punching bag for someone else to turn their day around simply because they’re miserable in life. I don’t need to be wildly successful to know I’m above that.
So I’m lacing up the sneakers and putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically, of course, because I hate running). I’m not interested in breaking records, just in moving forward consistently. And for me personally, it begins with pushing self-doubt out the window.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to turn this into a baking blog!!
Okay, totally just kidding. But looking at the recipes I’ve been working on lately, it certainly feels that way. It’s comical — baking remains the area I have the least success. Always. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s also the area where I hope to see the most growth. So buckle your seat belts and turn on the oven, because I’ve got lots of baked goods to share! And I’m starting with a cheesy braided pesto loaf. It’s a gentle reminder that winter can’t last forever and we’ll be eating caprese salads and drinking mojitos on the patio in no time.
Cheesy pesto bread is everything that is right in the world. It’s cheese, pesto, and bread. I KNOW. I’m not sure what else it could do to win you over short of baking itself, but if you too are longing for summer, this is your ticket out.
And I’m not saying that the bread is better with a smear of pesto on top, but like, I’m not saying it’s worse. Take that as you will.
Cheesy pesto bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ⅔ cups skim milk
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (¼ oz) packet active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups basil, packed
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cups pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
To make the dough:
Whisk the yeast with luke warm milk in a small bowl. Add sugar, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, oil, and salt. Pour yeast mixture on top and stir to combine. Pour dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Return to bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for 1 hour.
To make pesto:
Place garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor with blade attached. Pulse until finely chopped. Add basil and pulse until well blended.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a smooth sauce forms. Stir in Parmesan and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle, approximately 16x10 inches.
Spread the pesto into a thin layer across the dough, leaving only a ½” border on all sides. Roll the rectangle lengthwise.
Leaving about 1-2" in tact at the top, take a sharp knife and cut the dough in half lengthwise. Turn the dough cut side up, then twist to form a braided pattern. Place rolled dough into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. If the dough is too large, tuck the ends underneath.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until dough is browned and slightly crispy on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.