I am trying to help you tackle your pantry and freezer. Last week was to help you use your hoarded pumpkin and this week, it is the summer pesto still squirrelled away in your freezer.
The pieces of dough are chopped and slathered in pesto. The pesto keeps the pieces separate and you can easily pull them apart as a bite size snack.
The dough is easy to work with, once you have your oats cooked. With a couple of rises, it will take most of a morning but then you will be rewarded with warm, fresh bread later in the day.
Perhaps I should have used two loaf pans. The bread definitely overflowed while rising and baking. It just meant I couldn’t put the lid back on the dish, otherwise it was still great.
Pull Apart Pesto Bread
Adapted from Vegan Finger Foods
1 cup water
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup vegan milk, warm
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp agave nectar
2.5 cups white flour
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
2.25 tsp traditional yeast (1 packet)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup vegan pesto (try this lemon almond pesto or this basil pistou)
1. Bring the water and the oats to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will be rather thick. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Stir in the milk, olive oil, and syrup.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, gluten, yeast, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and knead for 10 minutes. (Alternately, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes.) Add extra flour as needed, until the dough is manageable, pliable, and not too sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
3. Lightly coat an 8×4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
4. Punch down the dough, and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a 9×12 in. rectangle; spread pesto evenly on the surface.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled out dough into six 1 ½ inch wide strips. Place the strips on top of each other, with the pesto facing up. Cut into six stacks, each one made up of six layers. Transfer the stacks carefully to the prepared loaf pan. It doesn’t matter if the stacks don’t all fit in a row. Arrange the stacks cut sides up, so it looks like stripes. Cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lower the oven rack so the bread isn’t too close to the heating element. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly coat the top with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. Remove from the pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes before diving in. Best served fresh.