This as an amazing bread that is not only delicious, but always looks amazing and really has a WOW factor that everyone will enjoy.
Why should we braid the bread?
Not only does it look wonderful it actually adds flavour as it crisps up the layers of the bread!
This bread is a personal favourite of mine and always looking to develop the idea and use different ingredients and pestos to create new flavours.
My absolute favourite bread is the variation of this bread I created. Making a sun-dried tomato and Parmesan LINK HERE paste that replaced the pesto in this bread. You can see this on Instagram also and recipe coming soon.
• In a jug combine warm water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let it rest for 15 minutes until it starts to bubble.
• In a bowl mix the flour and salt together. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the warm water mixture also add the vinegar now.
• Knees in the bowl with your hands until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knees for 5 minutes.
• Place in a greased bowl cover with a tea towel or cling film and allow to ride in a warm part of the kitchen for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size.
• Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 9-inch heavy pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. Place on top of a baking sheet. Set aside.
• Punch down the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough into very thin rectangle, as thin as you can (mine was 20” x 24”). Spread a thin layer of pesto on top of the dough (leave the bottom of the long edge clear 1/2″). Start at the top of the long edge and slowly, tightly and gently roll the dough into a log. Pinch it closed.
• Use a knife to cut the dough in half lengthwise. Cross the two halves (layers facing up) to create an X shape; braid top and bottom of dough by laying the left piece over the right keeping the cut side up, until pieces of dough are tightly twisted. Pinch ends together.
• Start at the thinner edge and slowly and very gently, roll the braid into a giant snail shell or a very large cinnamon bun. Be careful to keep all the layers facing up. Pinch the end delicately.
• Carefully pick up the braid and place it in the prepared pan. Cover; let rise in a warm place until almost double.
• Brush with egg wash and top with a pinch of sea salt before putting in the oven.
• Bake at 180C for 25-35 minutes, Take it out and Let it cool on a rack.