Natalie and the family were coming over, predominantly to try the Chocolate Mudcake I’d made as a practice cake for Cameron’s 21st.
After discussing times I suggested they come for lunch and Mr Fussy gave me a few ideas for what I could make. I went with the Ginger Gems, but I wanted to make a pesto bread. Have wanted to make one for a while now.
Rather than fish out the recipe I’ve saved (haven’t a clue where, perhaps Pinterest) I went in search of a recipe, starting with Pinterest.
I came across this recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up.
I read the recipe a couple of times because I couldn’t see where you let the bread rise twice before baking.
This was not a traditional yeast bread recipe. I liked the idea of not spending so much time in the kitchen, it gave me more time for a run rather than procrastinate and using time as a reason not to get out the door.
After a very chilly run through the forest I made it home in time to do the usual Sunday chores and then get busy with the bread.
Can you believe this is the first time I’ve used Instant yeast. I use the active mix all the time for the bread I bake weekly, and the other active yeast (yellow lid, little capsules) for every other bread I’ve baked.
Look what I made.
Same recipe used two different ways.
I wont bore you with too many photos. Jamie has a really good step-by-step photo shoot on her blog.
When Jamie says to leave the dough in the mixer a few minutes there’s a really good reason why. It’s sticky. It doesn’t look sticky in the bowl but as soon as you grab it, it grabs you back. And I did wait the few minutes before halving it. After I had equal amounts (yes I weighed it) I left it on the baking sheet as instructed, for a few more minutes and was really surprised when I next touched it. It really wasn’t sticky at all any more.
Spraying the bench was something I’d never done before, but it was necessary. The dough rolled out beautifully. And it sliced nicely too. The only worrying moment as how I was going to pick up the braid and put it back on the tray. It was long and supple. But it worked out ok, even though I had Mr Fussy at the ready to give me a hand.
I’ve never made a braided bread before. I soon realised I needed to tuck the top and bottom under the braided pieces which required a little reshuffling of the filling.
I used the other half of the dough to make Pesto pinwheels. I was going to put parmesan cheese with it, but got too lazy. The filling is Pesto, diced up semi dried tomatos, Colby and Gruyere cheeses. I’m not giving measures, I used the left over Pesto I had in the jar, the last of the sundried tomatos, I grated too much cheese for the first loaf, and I used the left over Gruyere cheese from yesterday’s lunch. I reckon most people can make up their own fillings to suit their needs, or leftovers
I used the nylon thread again to make 12 slices. This time I kept the roll together as one and started by making the first slice half way through, then I cut that half in half, then the quarters I sliced twice. I had no trouble pulling the thread underneath the dough log each time. So long as you’re pulling it taught it just glided. Having a oiled up bench probably helped.
I used some of the beaten egg wash on the pinwheels. I don’t know they needed it, and it only made it tricky to get them out of the muffin tins.
The spicy apricot sauce I used had just started to ooze out. Quite possibly because I made a slits for the braid a little bit longer than needed meaning my centre was a little narrower than it should have been.
I had the oven on fan bake and the braid in the bottom. I swapped the breads after 20 minutes of baking and turned them around at the same time. Everything bakes faster (and browns quicker) at the back of the oven. You can see here the left side is a little browner.
The pinwheels look really great. Well I think so. I really thought they would require more baking time since the dough was wrapped around. I was really surprised that they were baked (and rose better as well) before the braid.
Yum yum. This was good bread. I am thrilled at how quick this was to pull together and with the flavours in the fillings the bread tasted really good.
There’s a lot of scope for this type of bread dough. I’ll certainly be baking this again. Simple and quick and a trouble free yeast dough. There’s so much to like about this recipe.
One last comment. I mentioned earlier I’ve never made anything with Instant yeast. Our sachets are 8gm where as all the American recipes for bread I’ve read and made use 7gm measures. That’s a bit of a pain. I now have a very small jar with 1gm of yeast in it. I’m not throwing it away. I’m confident that I’ll be making another 6 yeast loaves in the not too distant future and I’ll have enough yeast from each of those to make another loaf. Up there for thinking!