Holiday Bread with Pesto Butter

I’ve gotten pretty fond of baking bread, as long as it’s quick and easy. For years I thought making bread by hand was a hassle. With all of that kneading and then waiting for it to rise for hours… no thanks! But then I learned there are some breads that don’t need to be kneaded or only have a short rise time! This is one of those.
2 cups warm water
1 packet of yeast
1 tbsp sugar or honey
4 cups flour plus more for dusting (I like to use 2 cups whole wheat or spelt and 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour)
2 tsp kosher salt
2-3 Tablespoons of dried herbs or 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I like mine loaded with herbs, so I never measure them I just throw a bunch in till it smells like an herb garden haha!)
1 egg
a few drops of red food coloring
1. Mix sugar or honey into the warm water. Add the yeast and stir. Set it aside for 5-10 minutes until it becomes creamy or frothy on top (that’s how you know the yeast is working).
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. In a large bowl; combine the flour, salt & herbs.
4. Pour the dissolved yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead a few times, adding more flour if needed.
5. Roll dough into a snake and place on a cookie sheet, shaping it into a cane shape.
6. Cover it with a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 15-30 minutes.
7. Beat an egg and food coloring together.
8. Brush the egg on the bread to make stripes.
9. Bake for about 20 minutes.

You can use this same recipe and make different shapes like a Christmas tree, or if you’re really creative, Santa face or teddy bear, etc. And for variation on the color, try coloring the egg yolk green. You can even color the dough by adding a few drops of color to the dissolved yeast mixture before blending it into the flour.

For the pesto butter
Soften 1 stick of butter and stir into it a tablespoon of pesto. You can make your own by following my recipe here:

6 cups fresh spinach
3 cups fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup nuts of your choice (Brazil, pine nuts, almonds or walnuts)
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt to taste
1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
Put greens, cheese, garlic (if using), nuts & lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process till smooth, slowly adding olive oil until it reaches desired consistency. Taste & add salt if needed.
I love to double this and put it in mason jars to give as gifts or to freeze for later.

Thanks for stopping by!


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