Crusty Walnut Pesto Bread
- Yield 20 servings
- Prep 25 mins
- Cook 30 mins
- Walnut-Pesto Dough
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 packages Rapid Rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup ground California walnuts
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/3 cup hot water
- -- an additional 1 ½ cups bread flour for adjusting the dough
- -- cornmeal for dusting the sheetpan
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or the bowl of a 5-quart mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the egg, olive oil, herbs, garlic, walnuts and cheese. Process until the mixture is well blended.
Add the hot water and process until a soft dough forms, using as much of the additional flour as needed. Process for 1 minute, if using the food processor. If using the mixer, knead for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to double in volume, approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
Sprinkle an ungreased sheetpan with cornmeal. Punch down the risen dough and divide it in half. Shape each half into an oblong loaf and place the loaves side by side on the cornmeal-sprinkled sheetpan. Cut five slashes in the top of each loaf. Lightly cover the loaves and allow them to rise until they have doubled in volume.
Whisk the egg and water together to make the glaze. Uncover the loaves, brush them with the glaze and bake them at 400F in the middle of the oven. Note: at the beginning of baking, place an 8-inch cake pan filled with an inch of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. This will produce a crusty bread with a soft interior. Bake the loaves until golden and crusty, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Serve this bread the same day it is baked.
Recipe courtesy of Anna Fowler of the University of Alabama; Birmingham, Alabama