Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pesto Pull-Apart Bread


It's September, so how about we bake some bread? If I haven't already convinced you that homemade bread is the best thing ever, I haven't done my job and I'm sorry.

One of life's purest pleasures is baking bread. When you see bubbling yeast awaking in warm water, lovingly mix and knead dough, and smell a beautifully risen loaf baking in the oven, everything is right in the world.

Pull-apart bread takes some extra work, but is totally worth it. The dough is a simple French bread recipe that has become my go-to (also used in this sausage stuffed bread). Layers of bread are brushed with pesto. I used my own pesto, but feel free to use store-bought sauce to simplify the work.

The process of pulling off pieces of the warm bread begs to be a communal experience, which makes the bread extra enjoyable. This particular pesto pull-apart bread was shared over dinner with friends alongside a pasta dish.

Happy bread baking!

Pesto Pull-Apart Bread

print this recipe

2 cups water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cups canola oil
1 tablespoons Kosher salt
4 cups flour
1/2 to 1 cup pesto sauce 

Put 110-degree water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes until it gets frothy.

Add canola oil, salt, and flour. Mix ingredients. Slowly add flour. Knead for about 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a large greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Place dough in fridge for at least one hour to make it easier to work with.

Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle about 20x12 inches. Spread pesto sauce all over the surface of the dough. Dough should look very covered. Cut the dough into 5 12x4-inch strips, then put the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 4x2-inch slices. Place the stacks sideways into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a dishtowel, and allow to rise for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to make sure the top isn't getting too brown. If the top looks like it's getting to brown, cover it tightly with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time. Internal temperature of bread should reach 190 degrees.

Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife along the edges and take the bread out of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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