Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pesto Change-o!

My plans for the day fell through, but I looked at the change in schedule as an opportunity to indulge in some long overdue domesticity.

Aside from the cleaning and the ironing and the sewing, naturally I spent a little time in the kitchen. And since I've recently lamented my avoidance of bread-baking this year, I thought I'd go ahead and test my idea for a pesto bread.

I started with the basic Tassajara yeasted bread, reduced it by half to make only one loaf, used Sucanat for sweetener, and made it half white/half wheat.

It's a wonderfully straightforward recipe that gives you plenty of time in between steps (45-60 minutes, generally) to do other things around the house, and it never fails to satisfy, which is why I decided to use it as the base for a new creation.

When it came time to shape the bread, I pressed it out into a rectangle and smeared it with about 2/3 c homemade pesto, taken from the freezer and thawed earlier in the morning. I scattered a few oven-dried tomatoes on top of that, rolled it up, tucked in the ends, and set it into a prepared loaf pan.

As soon as it started to bake, that blissful fragrance of basil and garlic mingled with the yeasty sweetness and filled the house. An hour later, I had a hefty loaf bursting at the seams with savory herbal goodness.

I was surprisingly restrained and waited an hour or more before sampling the first slice, and the only reason I stopped at one was because it's a very filling sort of bread. (Besides, I want to share some with my Opera-Loving Friends for a picnic lunch tomorrow before the show.)

One simple loaf, transformed by a new ingredient spiraling into the crumb.

It's magic!


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