Monday, 4 January 2016

"Pesto" and Feta Swirl Bread





Here’s my latest bread creation. A simple white loaf swirled with my version of pesto. It isn’t your classic pesto – I used a mixture of wilted leaves – spinach, rocket and watercress - mixed nuts (you could use pine nuts but I went for the cheaper bags of mixed nuts instead) and a little honey. This swirled with crushed feta inside the bread is super yum. 
You can make this healthier using a low-fat feta. I’m also thinking of baking a wholemeal version with lots of seeds. 
For now, try out this pesto-swirl bread.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

For the bread:
  • 500g white bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 30g softened butter
  • 320ml water

For the “pesto”:
  • 200g bag of spinach, watercress and rocket
  • 100g feta, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 100g mixed nuts

Method:

1. Make the bread dough. Tip the bread flour into a large mixing bowl. To one side of the bowl add the yeast, and the other side add salt.

2. Add the softened butter and ¾ of the water. Use your hands to rub in the butter and combine the flour with the water. Gradually add the rest of the water until all of the flour has been incorporated.

3. Cover a surface with a little oil and plop the dough onto the surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will start looking very uneven and lumpy, but will eventually become smooth.

4. Once smooth return to the large bowl. Cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. I have a particularly cold kitchen so what I do is half fill a tub with hot water,  then place the bowl on the tub (the bowl must not touch the water). The steam helps the dough prove. You can check the dough has proved by gently pressing it with a finger. The dough will spring back immediately when it has proved enough.

5. Whilst the dough is proving make the pesto. Place the leaves in a bowl and pour over boiling hot water. Once wilted (this only takes a few minutes), drain well then process to a fine pulp. Place in a sieve to allow excess water to drip out, and leave to cool.

6. Into the cooled leaves, stir in the mixed nuts, honey and feta. Set aside.

7. Grease and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.

8. When the dough has proved, place on a lightly oiled surface. Roll the dough out to a rectangle roughly 20 x 30 cm (about 1cm thick). Spread over the pesto.

9. Like a swiss roll, roll up the bread (with the longest side towards you). Once you get to the end of the roll, turn the bread so that the seam is underneath and place the dough on a greased and lined baking sheet. You can round the dough into a circle (and press the ends together) like I have, or keep it straight. If not in a circle, press down the sides of the dough to make sure the filling cannot escape.

10. Cover the baking sheet with clingfilm or a plastic bag (try not to touch the dough), and leave again to prove for 1 hour.

11. Preheat the oven to 230c/210c fan/gas mark 9. Place a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven.

12. After the second proving, dust the dough with flour and make slashes across the top of the dough.

13. Add hot water to the roasting tray in the oven, and immediately put your bread in the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes – check it is cooked by peeling from the baking paper and tapping the bottom – it should sound hollow.
Leave to cool.

14. Enjoy!

The bread will last 2-3 days, and makes excellent toast even when it is starting to stale!




Yum
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