"There's A Star Bread Prooving In The...."
Pesto Star Bread
Contrary to popular belief, the Gents don't spend everyday baking! This week we're squeezing in another #TwitterBakeAlong (from The Baking Nanna and Robert Allen) just in the nick of time. We're taking on a challenge from Bake Off's very own Louis Troyano. This recipe for 'Star Bread' comes from his book 'Bake It Great' and can also been seen on Lakeland's website. Despite how delicious this chocolate spread filled bread sounds, we just loved the suggestion of making a savoury version of this recipe and decided a pesto filling would make this tear and share bread perfect for easy packed lunches.
Start by making your enriched dough; adding eggs, butter and full fat milk to your standard bread dough recipe. Whilst you may not need all of the liquid, we found we used every last drop. Whilst you can make your dough by hand, using a stand mixer makes light work of this sticky dough, especially when it comes to adding your butter. Persevere and you will end up with a silky soft dough.
Set you dough aside in a greased bowl and leave it to double in size. For the Gents it's the only time you'll find us using a shower cap! Whilst your dough prooves you can make your filling. We chose a basil pesto using fresh basil, pine nuts, sweet and salty parmigiano reggiano and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil.
Knock back your dough and divide into two equal pieces. Roll out on a dusted baking sheet until just bigger than your largest dinner plate then, with the plate over the dough, trim off the edges. Repeat with your second piece of dough. Spread your filling over one piece and leave a 1cm gap from the edge. Carefully lay over your second circle of dough and press down to seal along the edge.
To shape your bread, cut your dough into equal wedges, making sure you leave an uncut disc in the centre. If you're creating a star then you'll need to cut equal numbers of wedges. We failed to count properly and ended up with a six pointed star unlike Louis's eight, but it's up to you. For a star, take two wedges and twist them twice in opposing directions. Repeat until all the wedges are twisted.
Proove again then bake in a preheated over until golden brown. Instead of an apricot glaze, we've opted for a little more olive oil and glazed once cooled. We've served ours with some soft Parma ham but, so long as your filling isn't too wet, you really can let your imagination run wild.
Now, a cautionary note. This is a 500g bread recipe that is essentially flat. The resulting bread is huge! If you don't have a large baking sheet then consider scaling down the recipe (250g flour would require one egg) and reducing the baking time.