Parmigiano Reggiano Pesto Loaf

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

*In partnership with Parmesan.com.  Thank you, thank you for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible. 

If you have spent any time in on my Instagram or blog, you have probably figured out that I love bread.  Bread is a magical thing in our home.  I still remember the intense satisfaction from my very first loaf of bread (that worked), and continue to feel a fantastic sense of pleasure that comes from pulling a gorgeous loaf out of the oven. 

This has been increased by my addiction to the Great British Bake Off.  In fact, I have made a few breads that look like this in response to their showstopping bakes.  This bread is a very easy focaccia bread base with an amazing Parmigianno Reggiano, fresh basil and toasted pine nut swirl.  

It is gorgeous, it is delicious, and it is surprisingly easy.  Don't be afraid of all the braiding. I promise it is easier than it looks.  Just be sure to get real parmesan.  It add serious flavor that a knock off just won't bring.  Check the rind for the characteristic pin-dot markings to be sure you are getting the real thing.  


Herb Focaccia Bread:

Bread Dough:

1 Tbs active dry yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp of each of the following:  rosemary, sage, basil and oregano


Filling:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar on top of a the water and give it a quick stir to dissolve it.  Let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes until it is foamy. 

Add the sugar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, salt and 1 cup of the flour.  Stir for 1-2 minutes.  Switch to the dough hook and beat in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl.  Add flour until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. 

Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for about 20 minutes. 


While it is sitting, fill 3 small bowls with the basil, pine nuts and cheese.  

Divide the dough into 3 equal balls and roll them out, one at a time, on a clean, floured surface.  Roll them into a rectangle (approximately 12x8), with the long side running parallel to you.  Sprinkle 1/3 of each of the fillings evenly over the dough rectangle, then roll it up, lengthwise (or away from you, so that you get a long skinny roll).  Put 1 or 2 slashes in it, lengthwise, running from end to end, leaving about 1/2 inch not slashed at the top and bottom of the roll.  

Once you have prepped all three dough balls, carefully braid them together, and place them on a 

Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise for another 30-45 minutes, until it is getting relatively puffy.  

About 10 minutes before your second rise finishes, preheat your oven to 425°F.  


Bake for 30-35 minutes until the internal temperature has reached 190°F on a meat thermometer, and the outside is nicely browned.  


Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.  




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