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Pumpkin Seed Pesto Bread
Fifty-fifty, white and wholemeal bread streaked with pesto made from pumpkin seeds and fresh coriander. This is perfect with the pumpkin soup.
For the bread
- 400ml (14floz) hand - hot water
- 1½ teaspoons golden caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dried yeast
- 325g (11½ oz) strong white bread flour
- 175g (6oz) stoneground wholemeal bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds - coarsely chopped (optional)
For the pesto
- 25g (1oz) shelled pumpkin seeds
- 40g (1½ oz) fresh coriander leaves
- ½ medium-hot green chilli - seeded and finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove - crushed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese - finely grated
- Put 150ml (¼ pint) of the hand - hot water into a cup, whisk in the sugar and the dried yeast with a fork, and leave somewhere warm for about 5 - 10 minutes until covered in a thick layer of froth.
- Meanwhile, sift the white flour, wholemeal flour and salt into a bowl and stir in any bran left in the sieve.
- Add the yeast mixture and the remaining hand - hot water and stir together until well mixed, then knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- For the pumpkin seed pesto, put the pumpkin seeds, coriander, chilli, garlic and oil into a food processor and blend to a paste. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and some salt to taste.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock out the excess air, and knead once more until smooth. Divide into 2 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece out into a 25 x 15cm (10 x 6 inch) rectangle. Spread half of the pesto over each piece of dough leaving a 1cm (½ inch) edge. Starting with one longer edge, tightly roll up each piece of the dough, pinching the edges together as you go, then pinch the final seam closed. Using a large sharp knife, cut each roll lengthways in half, and then twist the 2 pieces together again, keeping the pesto seam uppermost. Lay the twists side-by-side in the lightly oiled stoneware dish and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
- Cover the dish loosely with a sheet of cling film, and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes until doubled in size, the dough has filled the dish, and is almost touching the cling film.
- Shortly before baking, preheat the oven to 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Sprinkle the top of the bread with the pumpkin seeds if using, and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. You can serve this bread warm, straight from the dish or carefully lift it out of the dish and leave it to go cold on a wire rack. The bread is best served on the day it is made.
- Short on time? Use about 6 tablespoons of good quality fresh pesto in place of the homemade pumpkin seed pesto. Sundried tomato pesto is also a good alternative.