Farmers Daughter Herbs

This pesto laden loaf is delicious with simple grilled meats and makes a perfect accompaniment for cheese and tomatoes at a picnic or a light meal of soup and salad.

pesto-bread Makes 2 loaves

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Pesto (Click for recipe)

1-1/2 packages active dry yeast

2 cups warm water

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour

Cornmeal for the baking sheet

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In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the salt and sugar. Stir thoroughly. Set aside briefly until foamy.

Using a wooden spoon, beat in the flour, one cup at a time, until a smooth dough forms. Turn out on a lightly floured board and let rest a few minutes, then knead until the dough is elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volumn, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, punch it down, and knead again. Divide the dough in half. Pat out 2 rectangles, each about 10 by 12 inches, and spread a thin layer of pesto mixture over each, leaving a 1 inch border. Starting with a long side, roll each rectangle of the dough into a cylinder and shape into a loaf. Allow the loafs to rise for about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place the loaves on it. Brush each loaf with cold water and place in the oven and turn the oven on 400 degrees. Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaves are browned and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom. Place the bread on a rack to cool slightly and serve warm for the greatest flavor.

*note For variety, try the recipe with other herbs like parsley or dill.