09 October 2011

Pesto Artisan bread

The other day Akheela from Torview won this great book “Artisan bread in five minutes a day” and she was so kind to share an artisan bread recipe with us. She also included a video from the authors showing how to make this very easy master dough. After seeing the video I was blown away. Could it really be this easy to make homemade bread? Can it be; no more fiddling with kneading and difficult ingredients?

I have to admit. I’ve see so many wonderful recipes and some I actually want to try myself...but I’ve never got to do it. This bread was just calling my name. So I decided to give it a try. If it’s really this easy, I will have homemade bread on the table more often.

I used the same recipe, but modified it to make it more convenient for me as European and American measurements are different.

All you need for about 4 loafs of bread is:
- 1,5 tablespoon yeast (1,5 package)
- 1,5 tablespoon salt
- 750 ml lukewarm water (* 3 cups of lukewarm water)
- 1 kilo flour (* 6,5 cups of flour)
- flour for dusting
- optional: cornmeal to put on the bottom
- 1 tablespoon of pesto

Four loafs of bread might be a bit too much to bake in one time, but if you refrigerate this dough you can use it up to 2 weeks. How great is that?
I put all the ingredients (flour in last) in a big bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour in. The dough will stay very wet and that’s what it supposes to be.
Although it looks very lumpy and wet resist your adding more flour. Things will be ok, I promise.
As I wanted to experiment a bit with the dough I put about half of it in a different bowl. To this half I added one big tablespoon of homemade pesto.
I stirred it around a little, not incorporate it completely.

Then it was time to sit back and relax for about 2 hours so the dough could rice. I left it uncovered on the counter.
After 2 hours the dough almost doubled in size and was still wet, but dry enough to form some loafs. As I had way too much dough I stored the plain half in the fridge. It will continue to rise so make sure there is plenty of room for them to do so.  


I sprinkled some flour on top and on my hands and pulled off a piece of dough as big as a grapefruit. According to the authors this should be enough for a small family. By tucking the top to the bottom I formed a round loaf. On a flat surface I put some flour (as I didn't have any cornmeal) and place the dough there so it could rise for another 20-40 minutes. I don't have a pizza stone or any other flat surface so I use the bottom of a cake pan. Also I used a rectangle cake pan to put the rest of the dough in.

I preheated the oven on 230C degrees and put an empty tray on the bottom so I could create steam. Before the bread went in I dusted it with some flour and used a scissor to cut an “X” the top of the round dough and to make some cuts in the rectangle dough. Right after the bread is in the oven (in the middle) I poured a cup of hot water in the bottom tray and trapped the steam in.

The round bread was done in about 25 minutes. I baked the square loaf a bit longer; 35 minutes. When the round bread came out the X was completely gone. Next time I should cut it deeper.
They say not to cut the bread when it’s warm…and they were right. I cut it straight out of the oven and although it had a nice hint of pesto, the inside was a bit dense. But the crust was wonderful! So crunchy! It reminded me so much of a ciabatta bread.
This recipe is definitely a keeper. Akheela thank you so much for sharing this recipe and for showing us that it’s a piece of cake to make homemade bread!


  1. Lilly, looks so good!!! love to have it warm with a drizzle of olive oil mmm...

  2. Great crumb! Everything homemade...how delicious!

  3. It does look like ciabatta bread. I've never heard of bread that you can keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, how useful!

  4. Bet it made the house smell delicious. Love homemade bread.

  5. Look at the perfect air pockets! Looks so good and I love this kind of hard bread - I'm afraid I can easily eat the whole bread. I know it's a piece of cake for me to do that...

  6. Lilly it looks fabulous love the addition of colour
    isn't it fabulous we can bake bread in no time :)
    happy to share :) cheers Akheela

  7. You're as bad as me, girl! Too impatient to give the bread a proper wait time. Pffftthh, I'm sure it tasted fantastic regardless :)

  8. Lilly, your pesto bread looks awesome...I can only imagine the taste of it.
    Hope you are having a great week :-)

  9. When I saw the photo with the bread broken apart, my stomach almost instantly grumbled. What a tasty looking loaf! Great recipe!

  10. This looks so good--crusty and zesty!

  11. This pesto bread turned out perfectly! I will take a big slice with some butter or oil please!!

  12. Great homemade bread,,lily,,,looks perfecly done !!

  13. Wow your bread looks delicious! It came out perfect! I love the smell of homemade bread in my kitchen... I'll have to save this one! :)

  14. Wow! That's incredible! I keep hearing about this book...I think I'm gonna have to get it and try a few recipes out...thanks for the pictures, you explained it beautifully!

  15. Those are incredible looking loaves, Lilly. I love hearty rustic breads. I can imagine the smell of that.

  16. This looks like some amazing bread!! Very impressive! :)

  17. Lilly, I love both your loaves! The rectangular long one even managed to look like a car without wheels, LOL. I adore artisan bread so this no-knead recipe definitely sounds like my kind of thing :-).

  18. oh I love this idea! what a great bread!

  19. Its fun baking bread at home...nothing like home-made stuff...you know exactly what all has gone into it!! the aromas wafting in the house is heavenly...thanks for sharing this recipe! Incredible!

  20. Wow! Awesome & delicious looking bread. Thanks Liily for visiting & for liking Mango Jam Roll. Hope you give it a try someday. I'm your happy new follower & hope you'll follow me back :)

  21. I’m overwhelmed by all the comments. This bread is really good, I hope you all give it a try.
    I used the refrigerated dough and baked bread 2 more times and each time they came out great. I left it on the counter to come to room temperature and then baked it. It was as good as the first time, maybe even better since the dough could develop some more flavors.


I’m curious by nature so please share whatever is on your mind.