“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…
[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony.It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
The food-blogging world is full of inspirations. And there are some bloggers (now friends) whose blogs are bound to leave you with an instant urge to try out something. Aparna’s blog Diverse Kitchen is one such blog for me.
So when she called out to people last month to bake with her by saying “We Knead to Bake” some 60 other foodbloggers joined her in baking bread and the theme was ‘Pull-Apart Breads’.
Pull apart breads are just perfect for a little group of family or friends, sitting around a table where food and conversations flow freely. These breads are totally rustic and they make for cozy eating together where no fancy cutlery is required. I would give you a tiny little warning before making this bread if you live alone.
These loaves are so addictive that you’ll go ‘just one more slice’ a few times and before you know you’ve eaten a whole loaf by yourself. Bake this for others and this bread will win you many friends. Eat this alone and you’ll end up…never mind.
You should have this one basic pull apart bread recipe in your repertoire because there are a lot of variations you can do with this. Make a sweet cinnamon bread by omitting the garlic in the dough and using cinnamon, sugar and butter instead of pesto.
You can also make an Indian Masala Bread by smearing coriander chutney or using finely chopped coriander, green chillies and garlic with some toasted cumin seeds. The sweet version can be customised for Christmas time by using orange zest, cinnamon, marmalade, ground cloves.
Use your kid’s favourite jam in the filling for a kiddie’s party.
Either way, this bread is a showstopper – truly a rustic beauty, so much so, that within 5 minutes of me posting this picture on my Facebook page, a friend who runs a bistro in Chennai wanted the recipe so he could add it to his menu.
So try it out this weekend and if you don’t have pesto on hand, use your imagination and whatever is available in the kitchen and don’t forget to share this with loved ones.
You’ll end up with some leftover dough- for which keep a couple of foil tins or smaller tins handy-you could use the same stacking technique or roll it out into a rectangle, smear with butter and pesto, roll lengthwise and cut into one inch pieces.
Place these pieces cut side up in the smaller tins and proceed with second round proving. Brush with milk and bake similarly. Note that smaller tins will take lesser time to bake.
Recipe for Pesto Pull Apart Bread
Makes one regular sized loaf plus 2 baby loaves or a few pesto rolls extra
Takes roughly 3-3.5 hours in all, including proving time
Recipe adapted from My Diverse Kitchen