Pesto Bread

Pesto Bread

1 1/2 envelopes active dry yeast

 2 C. warm water

 1 1/2 t. salt

 1 T. sugar

6 – 7 C. flour

Yellow or white cornmeal for baking sheet

1 1/2 C. basil pesto

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in water and add salt and sugar. Stir thoroughly. Set aside briefly until foamy.

Using wooden spoon, beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until smooth dough forms. Turn out on lightly floured board and let rest a few minutes, then knead until the dough is elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with towel, and set in warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume (about 1 1/2 hours).

Turn dough out onto lightly floured board, punch it down and knead again. Divide dough in half. Pat out 2 rectangles, each about 10 x 12 inches, and spread thin layer of pesto mixture over each, leaving a 1-inch border. Starting with a long side, roll each rectangle of dough into a cylinder and shape into loaf. Allow loaves to rise for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal and place loaves on it. Brush each loaf with cold water and place in cold oven. Place pan of boiling water in bottom of oven and turn oven to 400°F. Bake bread for 35 to 40 minutes, or until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped.

Place bread on rack to cool slightly.

Makes 2 loaves.


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