Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pane al Pesto

This is an interesting twist on Italian bread. The flavors of the pesto are accentuated when the bread is baked. There are two ways to prepare pane with pesto. The first is the one in this recipe. The other does not mix the pesto in the dough instead once the dough rises the first time the dough is rolled flat, like pizza, and the pesto is spread over the top. The dough is then rolled into a log and then allowed to sit for about an hour before baking. The contrast of the white bread and pockets of pesto flavor results in a new experience in every bite. The bread with the pesto mixed directly in the dough is also marvelous. The resulting bread is luscious, fluffy and savory.

Either way this bread is fantastic. It is great for appetizers, a perfect balance for veal, chicken and pork entrees, and well just right to close that hole in your stomach in the late afternoon. An interesting variation to this bread can have black olives in addition to the pesto.


100 gr of Biga (if you do not have Biga substitute with 7 gr. dry active yeast)
1 package (7 gr.) dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 ¾ cups (500 gr.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (100 gr.) pesto
2 teaspoon salt


Mix the sugar and the warm water and dissolve the yeast. Allow to stand for ten minutes until creamy.

Measure the flour in a bowl and mix in the salt. Place the biga in a mixing bowl and add in the water yeast mixture. Pour in the flour and pesto. Mix until the dough separates from the side of the bowl.

Knead for 5 minutes, roll into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel, to block the light. Let rise for about 2 hours until doubled.

Shaping and second rise:

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Press flat to about 1 ½ inch thick with your hands. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball. Place the rolls on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. The bread will darker on top and golden brown on the sides.


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Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Interesting twist; I hadn't heard of it before.

5:56 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ChickyBabe - This is really good. I prefer rolling the pesto into the white bread like you would do with cinamon rolls but either way it is a very savory bread that will compliment blander entrees and leave your guests wondering which is better, the entree or the bread!

4:39 AM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

oh dear, that sounds wonderful! it's that pesto time of the year again :)

8:39 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Tracie b. - Yes! Made my first Bruschetta of the season yesterday!

9:42 AM

Blogger Craig Curtis said...

It's delightful, it's DELICIOUS, it's delovley! I'll try this the next time I make my grampa's Parker House Rolls.

12:53 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Thanks Craig. It is an interesting twist for some explosive flavor.

11:13 AM


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