PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

 Hi folks, I’m here to talk to you about life’s minor disappointments. Not the big ones, like hearing someone you respected say something that makes it difficult to continue in that emotion, but the things that just aren’t quite right.

free beer topless bartenders false advertising PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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For me disappointment is well exemplified by these flowers we have in the yard. They start out so promisingly with full buds that just scream that they will grow into something amazingly vibrant and delicate.

flower buds PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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The buds begin to open and you think, “Oooh, ooh, this one is going to be good.”

further flower PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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 Alas then within what seems like two days they become blowsy: they open into bedraggled looking things too big for their stalks that drag on the ground, they drop their petals, and all too soon they look like this:

wilted dahlia PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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I think their closest human analogy is that kid who is so excited and nervous to go out that they pregame madly and within 30 minutes of getting to their destination they’re throwing up in the bathroom and sobbing to anyone who’s too slow to escape them about how it’s all so wrong.

Inauspicious beginning to a recipe, I suppose.

I was really, really, really excited about this pesto bread. I rarely make bread because I love it so desperately that I eat too much, and I figured this bread, which also includes two of my other favorite flavors, would be a tangled web of awesome that would provoke gluttony from which there was no return. See the ingredients below? How could you go wrong with that?

ingredients PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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It was pretty throughout the making, something I also appreciate in a food.

rolling dough PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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I made a little bit of a hash out of the assembly, but it still looked good and smelled delightful baking (if you’re wondering where the cheese went,  I made two loaves with and one without).

uncooked pesto braids PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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See? Even more appealing looking with cheese, even though I caved and bought the yellow store kind although I’m usually a white extra-sharp girl all the way.

uncooked cheese roll PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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Baked up the loaves looked, at least in my mind, rustic and pretty.

cooked pesto roll PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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The flavor, however, was just meh, the bread rendered flat instead of augmented by the intense saltiness of the pesto and cheese. It felt like everything was not playing well together.

cooked cheese roll PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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If I had it to do over again I would use a better quality of pesto, for sure (we were out of TJs and as the nearest is more than an hour away, I settled for Kroger brand), and a better-matched cheese like parmesean or mozzarella. If you try this and knock it out of the park, let me know what you did!

cheese roll slice PESTO BREAD (a lesson in disappointment)

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Pesto Bread
Yields 3
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/3 cup milk, 2 packets active dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 2 3/4 to 3 cups unbleached flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 10 ounces basil pesto, 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk to lukewarm. Pour it into a large bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, oil, and salt to the milk mixture and stir, then knead for 10 minutes, adding flou as needed, or until smooth. Place back in the bowl and let rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll each one out into a large rectangle approximately 1/4" thick. Spread with pesto and sprinkle with cheese if desired. Roll up. Slice in half. Pinch the ends of the halves closed then layer them to create a braided loaf.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
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