Saturday, 18 January 2014

Pesto, black olive and sun-dried tomato bread plait

This bread tastes incredible still slightly warm out of the oven or completely cooled piled high with fresh ham and pickles. You can slice this bad boy or have it as a tear and share devour it all yourself.


  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 300ml lukewarm water (use 1 part boiled water to 2 parts cold)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4tsp pesto
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 15 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 egg beaten, for brushing

  • Put the flour, water, olive oil yeast and salt  into a bowl, mix, turn out onto the kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes. I use dried yeast which needs reactivating before being added, so take care to follow any further instructions on your yeast packet first.
To check if your dough is kneaded enough, pull out a piece of dough between your hands. It should be able to stretch to 20cm without breaking.
  • Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm spot to prove for 1 hour. 
  • Whilst the dough is proving I like to blitz the tomatoes and olives, separately, in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  • Divide into three equal parts (approx 262g each) and knead pesto into one, the sun-dried tomatoes into the second and chopped olives into the last.

  • Preheat the oven to180C/350F/Gas4
  • On a lightly floured surface roll each piece of flavoured dough into a long, even sausage. You may need some additional flour here if the dough is slightly wet.
  • Plait the strands of dough, pinching the ends together and folding them under to create a neat end. Brush the braid with a little beaten egg. Place on a baking tray and allow to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  • Bake the braid for around 35 minutes, the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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