Pesto, mozzarella & garlic bread

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To make the bread: flour, milk, yoghurt, egg, sweetener, salt and yeast

I am sure you’ve watched one of those deliciously-looking videos on Facebook (or maybe you’ve watched +500 like me, one after the other, especially right before going to bed). The most popular ones are the Tasty videos, but there are hundreds of video pages out there posting daily foodporn content. Have you ever wondered what the result would be if you followed one of those recipes? I always did. So I decided to try. And oh my!

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The filling: green pesto and fresh mozzarella

It all started with Phil, who tagged me in this video on Facebook a few weeks ago (see here on Youtube).  That same weekend Kayla was going to be over and we were excited to spend an afternoon cooking, so this was the perfect excuse to finally try out a Tasty-type recipe.

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Once you’ve braided and shape the bread crown, brush the bread with melted butter and garlic
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Baked it for 20 mins at 180º. The result look a bit chaotic in all honesty…

I will skip to the end: freakin’ delicious! As always, a few minor things I would change or do differently, but we got a pretty good result and had a bunch of friends a.k.a guinea pigs try it and approve it. I made it once more, because at the time we didn’t really take pictures, except for one or two with our phones (see at the bottom of this post). This time, although I made the pesto creamier, I kneaded the dough better, I let it prove longer… And instead of rolls, I went for a crown – and the result was a bit of a disaster! It didn’t look pretty or how I expected it to be, at all.

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However, despite the weird unexpected appearance, the bread was still tasty. I decided to slice it up, toast it and eat it with some warm soup. This made me think how much we focus on having everything look beautiful, how even with food, we “eat with the eyes”. We enjoy the symmetry, the colours, the perfect lines and shapes… Well this wasn’t it, let me tell you. But it was savoury, sweet, chewy, greasy and very comforting.

Learnings… Experimenting is good, but can also be quite frustrating. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect but you definitely learn in the process. Ask for feedback and get someone else’s opinion, ideally someone who is honest. Don’t judge a bread by its looks, ugly food can be tasty too. Never throw food away.

This is all amigos! I just had a few slices of this pesto bread with my cauliflower soup. Below are the bread recipe and some ideas to fill it with. You could also bake this bread alone in small portions, without any filling. Enjoy the process!

Silvia


Recipe: Pesto, Mozzarella & Garlic bread 

Total time: 2h (20 mins prep + 1h15 approx total proving + 20mins bake)

Notes: 14-16 large rolls or slices (if making a bread crown)

Ingredients

Bread

  • 110ml warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar/agave syrup?
  • 7g dried yeast (not baking powder!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 180ml natural yoghurt
  • 550g flour

Filling and topping

  • 200g Green or red pesto
  • 2 balls fresh mozzarella
  • 20g melted butter (or olive oil, but butter & garlic go too well together)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • parmesan, grated
  • parsley, chopped

The filling and toppings are up to you. I followed the original recipe but you could sub for tomato sauce, spinach, different cheeses, add bacon or chicken if you want meat in it… Freestyle.

Instructions

  1. Mix the warm milk, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Leave in a warm place for 5 minutes or until a foam is formed on top of the mix.
  2. Add the egg, salt and yoghurt, mix well. Add the flour and mix together until you form a dough. On a clean countertop, with your hands, knead the dough for a few minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film or a kitchen cloth, and leave in a warm place to prove for 30 mins.
  3. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to form a flat rectangle of about 0.7cm thick. If you want large rolls, use the entire dough to form a rectangle, if you want smaller rolls, divide the dough into two parts and create 2 long rectangles. Spread the pesto or chosen sauce, add the mozzarella, and roll the dough up into a sausage shape.

To make rolls… Make sure the ends are not too open. Slice the rolled dough into 5cm long pieces.

To make a bread crown… This link shows a step-by-step of how to make the crown, see here below for what I did at home:

  1. Place the rolls/crown on a baking tray or tin. Leave in a warm place to prove for 30-45mins. Preheat oven to 180º.
  2. Once proved, brush the top of the rolls/crown with a mix of butter and garlic. Sprinkle some parsley too.
  3. Bake for 20 mins or when a toothpick (or similar) inserted in the centre comes out clean.

The first version of this recipe: Rolls

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Preparing the bread dough: