I came across the idea for swirl bread while flicking through my recipe books yesterday. It was raining outside and I didn't really want to go out in it so thought a nice spot of bread-making would be a great way to pass the time on a wet afternoon.
While searching for inspiration among the images of loafs, buns, baps and flatbreads, a tantalising photograph of a cinnamon loaf that had a swirl of chocolate and pecan nuts oozing through it caught my eye. It looked amazing and I was even tempted to go shopping (and get soaked) to buy chocolate and pecans so I could make it. Fortunately, my conscience got the better of me and I decided against it - after the amount of chocolate I'd consumed over Easter it probably wasn't such a good idea!
After searching for an alternative I decided on pesto. Okay, I know this might not sound quite as scrumptious as sweet and sticky chocolate and pecan but I love to spread pesto on bread or toast and slap it into sandwiches so I guessed it would be a tasty (and healthier) option. Also, I had a few tablespoons of wild garlic pesto left over from a batch I'd make earlier this week so didn't need to go out in the pouring rain to buy ingredients.
The whole thing was really easy to make and I was pleased with the finished result. The bread was very light and had a nice (but not overpowering) garlicky flavour from the pesto. It looked great too with a bright green swirl running right through the bread - a bit like a bread swiss roll!
I think the possibilities for swirl bread must be almost endless - cheese, sun-dried tomato paste, cinnamon and sugar, peanut butter, Nutella or tapenade would all make great fillings and different flavours could be added to the dough too. I'd would love to hear of other ideas you might have.
Pesto Swirl Bread
Notes: I used my bread machine to make the dough but I've put the methods for making the dough both by machine and by hand below.
Basic white bread:
475g strong white flour
1tsp caster sugar
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp fast action dried yeast
250ml warm (not hot) water
3 tbsp pesto
1tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional)
If using a bread machine:
1. Add the water, oil, sugar and salt to the tin of the bread machine.
2. Spoon in the flour and sprinkle the yeast on top.
3. Set the machine to the 'dough' programme and start the machine.
4. When the dough is ready, continue from stage 3 below.
If making the dough by hand:
1. Put the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar, salt and yeast. Gradually mix in enough of the warm water until it forms a soft dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 minutes - the dough should be smooth and stretchy. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel or oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for approx 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is a fairly thin round that measures approximately 27cm in diameter.
4. Spread the dough generously with pesto and then gradually roll up the dough from one edge, when it is rolled up turn the dough so that the seam is on the underside and tuck the edges underneath. Place on an oiled baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or oiled cling film and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.