Fresh bread? 10-minute pesto using a bunch of basil from the garden? Let’s be totally honest, there’s zero chance that something like this ever lasts more than 24 hours here.
The basil in the garden is really, really thriving. And so are the weeds. 12 days of rain out of the last 15 makes everything but the water in the pool happy. Just as the last big storm rolled in the other night, I ran out to the garden and ripped out one of the larger plants to whip up a quick batch of pesto.
And I almost made it back inside before the bottom fell out of the sky. Almost.
I used my favorite recipe for quick french bread and paired it with the last of the pesto. And following the folding technique I found here, I formed the bread into a twisted, braided wreath and then popped it into the oven.
All while praying that the bread didn’t come out looking too much like lady parts. Because sometimes that happens.
A note – I was out of parchment paper and should have formed the wreath on the cornmeal-dusted pan that I was baking with… but as you can see from the photos below, I didn’t. Moving it was a total pain and cost me $5 in the swear jar. So don’t do that.
Braided Pesto Bread
A beautiful, twisty wreath of bread made with fresh basil pesto from the garden.
- For the bread:
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp yeast
- 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- For the loaf:
- ~1/2 cup pesto, purchased or homemade
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
- Place warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle yeast over top.
- Let sit 10 minutes - if the yeast doesn't get frothy or swell, toss it and go buy new yeast.
- Add the flour, oil, and salt and turn the mixer to low.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic - after about 2 minutes, the dough should completely clean the bottom and sides of the bowl. If it does not, add additional flour, one spoonful at a time until it does.
- Form the dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl (I just use the mixer bowl) and let rise until doubled (~1 hour on the countertop, quicker in a slightly warmed oven).
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Lightly flour your work surface.
- Gently stretch and elongate your dough round.
- Roll into a rectangle ~18x12 inches.
- Spoon pesto over top, spreading evenly, leaving a clean 1/2-inch border around the edges.
- Roll the long side of the dough to you and pinch the seam closed.
- Transfer to your parchment-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.
- Cut the dough in half down the length of the dough and pinch the top ends together.
- Working quickly, braid the two pieces, trying to keep the pieces twisted so the cut ends remain on top (this is what makes the bread pretty).
- When you get to the bottom, pinch the ends together and wrap into a wreath.
- Transfer to your baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Top with shredded parmesan and bake for ~25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool slightly and slice to serve.
Yields: 1 loaf, ~12 slices
Estimated time: 3 hours