Christmas Pesto Rolls
This is a fun recipe to make and you can get the kids involved. My recipe is easy to make and easy to adapt and of course, you can use the recipe at any time of the year, just change the shape! The bread goes so well with savoury dishes such as warming casseroles or soup or serve it as a centre piece at a party.
Bake on a day when you plan to be at home. You’ll not spend too long on the actual making, but you’ll need to allow for it to rise, then shape and bake the bread. This is one of the breads that students make in my bread making class and it always proves very popular.
You can, of course use shop bought pesto for speeds.
- Fresh yeast – available from most supermarket bakery counters but you will have to ask.
- Fresh herbs. Use what you might have in the garden, or buy fresh. Whilst a traditional pesto uses basil, any of the “soft” herbs will do. I’d not use rosemary for example as it rather robust.
- Oil – use extra virgin olive oil, or local rapeseed oil
- Parmesan cheese – go for a piece rather than ready grated
Whilst you can make this by hand, if you have a stand mixer (eg Kenwood) or a food processor, it will be a lot easier. If you have a dough hook for your stand mixer use that in preference to your cake making tool. If you are using a food processor, use the chopping tool
- Rolling pin
- Large flat tray
- Pastry brush
- Star cutter (optional)
- Cooking thermometer (optional)
- Dough scraper (optional)
Savoury Tear and Share Bread
Christmas Tear and Share Bread
- 300 gr strong white flour
- 180 ml water
- 30 ml oil rape seed or extra virgin
- 7 gr fresh yeast
- 6 gr salt
- 50 gr herbs chopped your choice from: chives, thyme, lemon balm, coriander and marjoram
- 50 gr nuts toasted eg hazelnut, almonds or pistachios
- 50 gr grated parmesan cheese
- 100 gr rapeseed or olive oil (approx)
- First start with the bread dough.
- If you have a thermometer, check the temperature of the water. This water should be around 20°C. This will feel cooler than you would imagine.
- Weigh the flour out into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl if you are making it by hand. Add the salt and yeast keeping them well apart from each other.
- Add the oil and water.
- If using the stand mixer, mix on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, then increase to medium speed for a further 3 minutes. The dough should detach itself from the sides of the bowl. It will be smooth and elastic.
- If mixing by hand, rub in the yeast then use a dough scraper to mix all the ingredients together and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes).
- Cover the bowl and set aside for 45 minutes to one hour away from drafts.
- Next make the pesto. You can use a food processor to make this or chop everything as finely as possible.
- Lightly toast your nuts and set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop the nuts, herbs and garlic, grate the parmesan and add to the processor bowl. Add approximately half of the oil and pulse until smooth. It will be very thick. Add more oil until it becomes a spreading consistency. Set aside.
- Set your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
- After 45 minutes to one hour, your dough will have risen and when prodded will be soft and any marks will disappear.
- Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm thick into a long rectangle. You will be rolling up the long edge.
- Spread the pesto all over the dough.
- Roll the dough up tightly into a long sausage. Place in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour. This will ensure both the filling and dough are the same temperature and will be easier to cut.
- With a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut slices that weigh 70 gr. You want them all to be the same weight to create an even tree. Set aside until you have cut all the pieces.
- Roll out the left over pieces of dough. Cut out a pot and star.
- Layout on silicon paper on a baking tray. Place one bun in the first row, two in the second and so on. Leave a finger width space between each one for the rolls to expand before baking as shown. Ensure you have one roll per person at least!
- Brush the dough with beaten egg and leave for 45 minutes before baking. You'll note how they have expanded.
- Brush the dough a second time with the beaten egg before placing in the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden. Check after 15 minutes.
- Gently remove the bread from the tray when cooled a little and place on a serving platter. These are best served just warm.