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Pesto Challah Bread

Allegra Benitah, The Challah Mummy has created this delicious Pesto Challah Bread recipe for Marriage's. It's perfect for the wild garlic season and can be swopped for basil at other times.

Preparation method

Pour the water into a mixing bowl, add the extra teaspoon of caster sugar and carefully dissolve the yeast into the water.  Once bubbles start to appear on the surface, pour in about a third of the flour, followed by the two eggs, the rest of the sugar, the salt and the oil.  Get your hands into the dough and combine the mixture, adding flour little by little as you go, until you get a big ball of dough.  You will know when the dough is ready to knead because it shouldn’t stick to your hands any more.  You may not need all the flour to get to this point so just use what your own dough mixture needs.

Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour, tip your dough out onto it and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too sticky again.  Drizzle a little bit of leftover oil around the bowl, place the ball of kneaded dough back inside and cover with a beeswax wrap or cling film.  Leave the dough to rise for about an hour and a half or until it has doubled in size.  Make the pesto by blitzing up the wild garlic (or basil) leaves, olive oil and seasoning in a food processor until smooth and gently seasoning.

Once the dough has risen, give it a little punch to knock the air back out of it.  Place it back on the floured work surface and knead it a little bit, with a bit of flour if needed, so that it’s ready to shape.  Roll the dough out thin and flat with a rolling pin and cut four long, wide strips of dough.  Carefully place a long line of pesto down the centre of each strip of dough and seal by pinching the dough up and around the filling.  Arrange the four strips of dough on a piece of baking paper in the form of a hashtag before winding the left hand strip in each pair round to the left and then the right hand strip round to the right (and repeating) to make a four strand round braid.  Once you are happy with the shape, cover the dough and let it rise again for 45 minutes.  Towards the end of this time, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and egg wash the challah with a pastry brush.  Bake the challah for 25-30 minutes at the bottom of the oven.  You may need to cover the challah in foil at around 20 minutes if you feel it is getting a bit too brown and crispy!

what you will need

For the Challah Bread:

1 - 1.5 kg of Marriage's Finest Plain White flour (approx.)

250ml lukewarm water

1 portion of fresh yeast (approx. 40g, otherwise 1 tablespoon of active dried yeast)

4-6 tablespoons of caster sugar (plus one more teaspoon to mix in with the yeast)

2 eggs (plus one more egg for the egg wash)

1 tablespoon of salt

60ml sunflower oil

For the Pesto:

Large bunch fresh wild garlic (or basil if not in season/available)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste