Friday, June 15, 2012

Rocket pesto sourdough bread

Pesto sourdough boule

The other day while doing my shopping in the supermarket. I came across some Rockets at a good price. So I bough a bag, knowing that this is great to go with pizza (with a strong vinaigrette) and I saved a big bunch to make a pesto.

I like to have a pot of pesto in my fridge cause it is great to cook up a last minute pasta dish or a dip for a quick Entrée. We did enjoy some as a dip and the rest I used it in this bread.. Really happy with the result. Not only the green comes out beautifully but the aroma of the garlic, olive oil, parmesan and rocket make this bread so tasty. Throw on a bit of chopped basil and tomatoes, drizzled on more olive oil and we had Brustchetta as Entrée the next day. Very happy!!

To make the Rocket Pesto;
  • 75g  rocket (about one big bunch)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 100g pine nuts (I didn't have pine nuts on that day, so I used roasted almond)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  1. In a blender, blend all the above ingredients till thick and smooth.
  2. Place in a glass jar and pour over more extra virgin olive oil to cover and store in the fridge.

Pesto sourdough bread

For the sourdough bread:

500gm        Country bread flour
350gm        Cold water
10gm          Sea salt
5gm            Fresh yeast cake
100gm        Whole wheat sourdough starter

Day 1:

  1. Mix Flour, starter and cold water to form a thick mass. Allow dough to autolyse for an hour meaning just walk away or get yourself a cup of tea. This is to allow the dough to absorb the water.
  2. Now dissolve your yeast cake in 1 or 2 table spoons of warm water and knead in the dough. Let rest for another 30 minutes then mix in the salt.
  3. Let rest for 3 hours or more depend of the weather til you see the dough has doubled, then start to do the stretch and fold. I do all my stretch and fold in my round plastic tub. I use a spoon/rubber spatula to scoop up dough from the side of the tub fold it towards the center ( at this point of time, the gluten has developed and it should not break easily) while turning the tub to the left. This is 1. Do a  20 count of these stretch and fold, let rest for 30minutes then come back a to do another of this stretch and fold with an interval of 30 minutes.
  4. After 3 sets of stretch and fold, put the tub in the fridge for a good 24 hours or even 36 hours. This is important if you want a very airy and light crumbs. There is not much of kneading to do but a lot of stretch, fold and wait. The long cold retardation does give the bread more flavour and character too.
Day 2:

  1. Take the tub out of the fridge, let it warm up 30 mins.  Turn out dough on to lightly dusted work surface.
  2. Lightly pat into a round disc, and spread on the rocket pesto but leave a border of an inch for sealing. Gently bring up one side to meet the other side and seal.
  3. Shape it into a boule.
  4. Cover and proof for an hour. Do the finger test by pressing lightly into dough: dough that springs back immediately and leaves no indentation indicates underproofing.  If the dough springs back somewhat but still leaves a discern indentation then it's proofed properly - with just enough rise left to give you some nice oven spring.  But if the indentation just stares back at you you've probably let it ferment too long.
  5. Preheat the oven at 220C with baking stone. You will need steam for a nice crust. For the steam, you can either spay the oven door every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes of baking or you can pour some boiling water in to the lower tray of the oven. Since I am baking with a mini oven, I spray the oven walls.
  6. Just before baking, turn the boule out from the linen lined basket onto a baking paper dust with semolina, slash two or three times. I use a non-stick cake pan, so I just slide the pan on to the baking stone and bake.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes with steam, and another 20 – 25 minutes at 200C without steam, or until the crust is golden brown or to your likeness. Take the boule out and tap at the back, if sounds hollow means it's cooked. Put them back into the oven without the baking pan with oven door ajar for another 10mins.
  8. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool then slice and enjoy!
Sending this to  Yeast spotting


  1. Hi! Just stumbled into your blog and enjoyed scrolling through...nice blog:) and a lovely loaf of bread you got there!

  2. Hi Jeannie,
    Thank you for dropping a line, there is nothing more satisfying then to "meet" another food lover and blogger through blogging...