Russian Braided Pesto Bread

The braiding on this bread may make it look complicated, but it is actually deceivingly easy, and the results are well worth the extra effort.

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Ingredients:

  • 750g Strong white bread flour
  • 7g packet of yeast
  • 2 tsps granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 jar of pesto

Method:

1. In a bowl hand mix with a wooden spoon the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Then add the water, oil and white wine vinegar mixing until it creates a dough ball that is not sticky to touch. It should leave no residue on the side of the bowl.

2. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for ten minutes. Then place in a greased bowl and cover. Put the bowl in a warm place and leave to rise until it has almost doubled in size (45min- 1 hour)

3. After the dough has proved, pre heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade and grease a spring form cake tin well.

4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and knock it back. Then roll out as thinly as you can using a rolling pin to a rectangle.

5. Spread a thin layer of pesto on top of the dough leaving a little border of about a 1cm, and then tightly roll the dough into a log.

6. Cut the bread in half lengthways and cross the two halves on top of each other at the middle ready to plait with the pesto layers facing up creating a cross.

7. You are now ready to braid your bread. Lay left over right keeping the pesto side up and making sure it is tight and pinch the ends together. Slowly roll the braid into a tight circle- like a snail shell- being careful to keep all the layers facing upwards.

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8. Carefully pick the bread up and transfer to the prepared tin and allow to rise again until almost double (another 35-45 mins)

9. Give the bread an egg or milk glaze before baking in the oven for 30-40 mins at 200 degrees centigrade, or until golden brown. When you transfer from the tin the bread should sound hollow when you knock the bottom.

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