This past weekend, we had a green-themed party in honor of our friend’s long-awaited green card. Hey, any excuse for a party, right?
When we gather for celebrations, we don’t mess around when it comes to the food spread. We know how to potluck. We go gourmet, homemade, unique, delicious, and…bacon. Often times we find a reason for bacon to be present and accounted for.
This braided loaf of pesto love, has easily become my favorite gourmet type of bread. The couple hours of labor and waiting that goes into this is easily worth the wait.
First, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.
Note to self: always opt for the gigantic cutting board or a clean counter as a work surface. It was a bad call to think I could roll out a large rectangle of dough on this little thing.
Starting with the long edge, roll dough, semi-tightly, into a rope.
Seal the long edge by pinching.
Cut down the entire middle of the rope to create two pieces, which will be braided/twisted together.
Starting with one end, pinch ends together and braid the two pieces, keeping the open side up. Wrap into a wreath and connect the ends together.
Transfer to a lined baking sheet, or pizza stone and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes, to let it rise again.
Shred parmesan cheese over top and bake until top is golden brown, for about 22-25 minutes. Enjoy while warm!
Make this at your next dinner gathering; the crowd will love you.
The Pesto flavor in every bite and a crispy Parmesan top makes this the only bread that doesn’t require butter or any sprucing up. Especially, fresh from the oven, it is ridiculously tasty and maybe even slightly addicting, with a little crunch on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside.
Kale Pesto Braided Bread
Makes 1 wreath of bread, serves about 12 slices.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
3 cups kale, stems removed & coarsely chopped
3 cups basil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbsps lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Add all pesto ingredients into a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, or into a blender. Blend for 30 seconds, pulsing a few times; scrape down the sides. Stream in the olive oil while blending and process until smooth. If a thinner texture is preferred, slowly add a little more olive oil until it reaches the desired texture.
Pesto will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze pesto in serving-sized amounts for an easy meal.
For the bread:
1 cup warm water
2 tsps yeast
2 1/2 cups flour or bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
For the loaf:
1/2 cup homemade Kale Pesto (or store-bought pesto)
3 Tbsps shaved parmesan (or grated)
Place warm water in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle yeast over the water. Let sit 5 minutes then whisk several times to help the frothing processes.
Add the flour, oil, and salt and turn the mixer to low. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. After a couple of minutes the dough should start shaping into a ball and after 4-5 minutes the sides of the bowl should be clean.
Lift up the ball of dough and lightly grease the bowl of the stand mixer; replace the dough back into the bowl, lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with a towel. Let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour in a slightly warmed oven or a draft-free spot in the kitchen. Dough should be doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425.
Lightly flour the work surface (you will need to roll out the dough into a big rectangle so a clean counter might be best).
Roll into a rectangle about 18×12 inches. If it’s a little smaller, that’s ok, just be sure it is about 18 inch long and in a good rectangular shape.
Spoon pesto over top, spreading evenly with a spatula, leaving a clean 1/2-inch border around the edges. If pesto is on the thicker side, drizzle a little olive oil over the pesto and work into the dough to help spreading.
Roll the long side of the dough into a semi-tight roll and and pinch the side-seam closed. Cut the dough in half down the length of the dough roll and loosely pinch the top ends together so the pesto stays in place. Place the strands side-by-side, pinching the top ends together, quickly braid the two together, keeping the open ended parts on top. Pinch the ends together, shape into a wreath, securing both ends together. Transfer to a parchment-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, or a pizza stone.
Loosely cover the top with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. It should rise a bit more during this time.
Top with shredded parmesan cheese and bake for 23-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Let cool slightly and enjoy while warm.
From the Little Yellow Kitchen,