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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pesto Bread

I love bread. All kinds of breads. Back in the big city I was able to hit the bakery whenever I had a hankering for some that was fresh out of the oven. Living here, all the bread I can get my hands on has been shipped across the state to arrive wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. Not very appetizing and only your basic varieties. So, I have learned how to make various types of bread right here in my mountain home. Below is a recipe that is a wonderfully flavorful bread that goes great with any Italian meal you plan to make... or by itself with a Pesto Dip.

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbs (or 2 packets) Dry Active Yeast
2 tbs Course Salt (I prefer Sea Salt but Kosher works too)
6 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Pkt Dry Pesto Sauce

1) In large bowl ( I used my crock pot for this), mix water, yeast and salt until yeast dissolves. Mix in flour. Batter will be wet and loose. Transfer to a bowl that has a lid or cover tightly with plastic wrap and poke a small hole in it. You want the gasses to escape.

2) Now set it on top of your refrigerator for about 2 hours to let it rise.

3) Place bowl in refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Dough works best after it's been chilled.

4) Prepare Pesto Sauce to package directions.

5) Place about a 1/4 of the dough on a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle about 12x9 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with pesto sauce entire surface. Gently roll up as you would a jelly roll and transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet.

6) Let rise, uncovered, about 30-40 minutes (this is where you put it back on top of your refrigerator again). Its OK if it doesn't rise too much, it will rise in the oven.

7) Preheat oven to 450. If using a toaster oven drop the temp to 400 and do not use the fan. This will burn it. Place a separate pan filled with water on the bottom rack of oven.

8) Pour water in heated pan (the steam will help to brown the loaf) to fill it and place bread on rack over it. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning loaf pan half way through.

9) Now, let this cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before you tear into it.

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