Cheesy sage and garlic bread
- May 2016
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 40 min, plus rising and proving
From the Liguria region of Italy, this classic starter moves beyond a simple garlic bread recipe to showcase sage.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 23.9g (5.1g saturated)
- 46.5g (1.7g sugars)
- 400ml hand-hot water
- 1½ tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp active dried yeast
- 325g strong white bread flour
- 175g stoneground wholemeal bread flour
- 1½ tsp fine sea salt
- Vegetable oil for greasing
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 tbsp finely grated cheddar
For the sage and walnut pesto
- 30g shelled walnuts
- 30g pine nuts
- 16g fresh sage leaves
- 4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 120ml olive oil
- 50g cheddar cheese, finely grated
you’ll also need…
- 26cm x 18cm x 7cm rectangular ovenproof baking dish (around 2 litres capacity)
- Put 150ml of the hand-hot water into a cup, whisk in the sugar and the dried yeast with a fork, then leave somewhere warm for about 5 minutes or until covered in a thick layer of frothy bubbles.
- Meanwhile, sift the white flour, wholemeal flour and salt into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or into a large mixing bowl, then stir in any bran left in the sieve.
- Add the yeasty mixture and almost all the remaining hand-hot water and stir together, adding the rest of the water if necessary, to form a slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough using the mixer (or by hand on a lightly floured surface) for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, then return to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave somewhere warm for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Shortly before the dough is ready, make the sage and walnut pesto. Put the walnuts, pine nuts, sage, garlic and oil into a food processor and blend to a paste. Stir in the cheddar and some salt to taste.
- Lightly oil the baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knock out the excess air, then knead once more until smooth. Divide in half. Roll out each piece into a 25cm x 15cm rectangle. Spread half the sage pesto over each piece of dough to within 1cm of the edges. Starting with one of the longer edges, tightly roll up each piece of the dough, pinching each end together as you go. Pinch the final seam closed, then turn it so it’s seam-side down.
- Using a large sharp knife, cut each roll lengthways in half, opening out the roll like a book. Gently twist or braid the 2 pieces from each roll around each other (see above, left), keeping the pesto seam uppermost. Lay the 2 twists side by side in the baking dish, then cover the dish loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes to 1 hour until doubled in size; the dough should fill the dish and almost touch the cling film.
- Shortly before baking, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Sprinkle the top of the proved bread with the 2 tbsp chopped walnuts and the 3 tbsp grated cheddar. Bake for 35-40 minutes untilgolden brown and cooked though.
- Serve the bread warm, straight from the dish, or carefully lift it out onto a wire rack and leave it to cool completely (see Make Ahead).
This recipe is versatile. Make it with any flavoured pesto and cheese you fancy. Basil or sun-dried tomato pesto, and parmesan instead of cheddar, are other favourites of mine.
The bread is best served on the day it’s made, but it will keep for 24 hours; warm in a medium oven before serving.
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