Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends! Here in Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving last month and now we have to wait another month to have any festive turkey or roast beef (or ham, or turducken, or tofurky, or whatever) dinners, so sad. Most folks who like turkey enjoy a turkey sandwich or two in the days following the big dinner and there is nothing boring about turkey sandwiches made from this loaf swirled with festive (and super flavourful) ribbons of red and green.
I love me some swirl breads, which you already know if you follow my blog, and this one just screams holidays. Just to be sure, I made some sandwiches with roasted chicken and mayo out of this very loaf and yummo… you’ll be wishing you had more leftovers.
My Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Swirl Bread
Makes 2 Loaves
1 1/2 cups (355 mL) 2% milk
1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) basil pesto
1/2 cup (125 mL) jarred roasted red peppers, pureed
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesano Reggiano
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp (5 mL) water
In a small saucepan, melt butter in the milk over medium heat and then allow to cool to lukewarm. In bowl of stand mixer, combine yeast, warm water (not over 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and sugar. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, or until yeast starts to foam and bubble. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and add in the milk, butter and the salt. On low speed, add in 4 cups of the flour and then then increase to speed 2. Add in flour 1/4 cup at a time until a nice workable dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl, nor leaves excess flour, is formed (I need slightly less than 5 cups total). Save some extra flour for when you are forming the loaves. Knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes on speed 2. Remove the dough from the mixer, spray another large bowl with non-stick spray, put dough into it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it is doubled in bulk (1-2 hours). Once doubled, gently deflate the dough, cover and let double in bulk again, about an hour.
Once the dough has risen twice, divide it in two, take half of it and roll it out on a floured board until it is a large rectangle, approximately 9 x 13″, or as close as you can get it… just make sure the short side is the same as the long side of your bread pan. With the narrow edge of the dough facing you, spread the top half with half of the pesto and the bottom half with half of the roasted red pepper puree, leaving 1/2 an inch around the edges. Sprinkle with half of the parmesan. Roll up like a jelly roll starting at the narrow edge. Pinch the bottom and sides so that the filling does not squeeze out. Cut the roll straight down the middle lengthwise, and carefully place each length, filling side up, side by side in a greased loaf pan (9 x 5″). Braid the two strands by folding under and over a couple of times. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let them rise for about 45 minutes, or until the dough comes up to the top of the pan. Beat the egg with tsp of water, brush tops of the loaves* and pop into a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned and hollow-sounding when tapped.
*Be mindful not to let much eggwash drip down the sides, as it can make the bread stick to the pan, lining the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper will alleviate this problem all together.