Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Braided Pesto Wreath

                 

                As much as I wish it were otherwise, I can not craft to save my life. I can not knit,crochet,sew, or glue anything together without managing to glue my own fingers together. I can not draw,paint,sculpt or build anything with wood. I can however, bake bread. I sometimes get envious when I see everyone posting pictures of their holiday wreathes they made...especially since I can't join in along with them. So I had enough and decided to bake a holiday wreath! Not just anything wreath..but a red and green pesto wreath.
              
 

           Can you see the red and the green? I sure hope so because in person it looked so neat! lets look a little closer...
             


           There..that's a bit better. I needed to make two batches in order to combine the colors into a wreath..so if you go this route you will end up with two..one to eat now, one to either share or eat later.
                 


               The best advice I can give you, is to go slow and not worry about the mess you are making..because you will make a mess when you braid the dough. The process is really easy..you roll the dough up cinnamon roll style, split down the middle to expose the inside, and then braid it with the inside split side facing up..I mean, you WANT to show off the pretty inside so make sure you turn the dough over. I used the first wreath as a learning curve and found some things out; stretch the dough slightly when you go to braid it. It's going to get smaller as you braid and then curl it so make sure you give yourself enough dough to work with.

This is almost a two person job. My husband stood in as the official "Don't freak out,it's going to turn out beautiful" person. Because we worked together I wasn't able to get step by step photos..if anyone should ever need something like that then please let me know. I will make anything you need help with and post a photo tutorial. I'm just not one of those fancy food bloggers that has steps of everything. However, Confessions of A Foodie Bride has a bunch of photos,so head over there if you need some extra help.

Braided Pesto Wreath

1 cup Warm Water
2 tsp. Yeast 
2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt

For the Pesto middle:

1/2 cup Pesto..any flavor
2 TBS or more of Grated Parmesan Cheese

Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top; stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients for the bread and mix until combined..if the dough is sticky,add more flour,a tablespoon at a time, and if the dough is to dry, add water a tablespoon at a time, until it all comes together.

Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic..5-10 minutes. Place dough ball into a lightly greased bowl,turn to coat, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into an 18x12 rectangle. Spread pesto all over the top but making sure to leave a clean 1/2 inch border around the edges.
           


             Roll the long side of the dough up and pinch the seam closed.

Cut the dough in half down the middle using a pizza cutter and then transfer the two pieces either onto a parchment lined or cornmeal dusted cookie sheet, pinch top ends together. Working in a very confident manner ( you can do this!),braid the two pieces,trying to keep the pieces twisted so that the cut ends remain on top..you wanna show that pretty design :) When you get to the bottom pinch the ends together and wrap into a wreath.
                   


          Once you have made the wreath shape, pinch and tuck the combined ends the best you can. Turn to your partner and shake hands on a job well done! Cover the wreath with a tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven while it rises to 400 or 200 celsius ( the original recipe says to go higher but my oven is slightly on the hotter side and bakes things up way quicker than stated so I always adjust both temp and bake time). Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. 

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. Cool slightly and then dig in!

** If you want to make a red and green pesto wreath like I did then you need to make up two doughs..one with green pesto and one with red. Once you split the rolled up dough in half,patch a red with a green and start the braiding process and then do the same with the remaining two pieces. Again, you will end up with two if you do the multiple colored one.**

Yield: One beautiful braid
Source: Confessions of A Foodie Bride