AlphaBakes is a monthly blogging challenge co-hosted by Ros from “The More Than Occasional Baker” and Caroline from “Caroline Makes.” Each month, a letter of the alphabet is chosen at random and bloggers have to bake a dish that starts with (or uses an ingredient that starts with) that random letter.
This month AlphaBakes is brought to you by the letter “H.” Not so difficult, you might be thinking. After all, it’s not exactly “Q” or “X” is it? I sat down to think of possible ingredients and came up with honey, hazelnuts and…….erm……….. hazelnuts and honey. The thing is, I have eaten so much sweet stuff these past couple of weeks, I was really craving a savoury bake and neither of these two ingredients fitted the bill.
Searching around for inspiration, I decided to look to my new favourite recipe repository for inspiration, The British Larder. A quick trawl of their delicious recipes and I found this rather stunning “Courgette, Goats Cheese and Garden Herb Pesto Bread.” OK, it would be better suited if the letter was “C” or “G” but there is an “H” in there so it will have to do. For the purpose of this challenge therefore, “H” is for herb.
Like a lot of The British Larder’s offerings, this recipe uses a Thermomix – a piece of kitchen gadgetry which I can only dream of owning. However, it was easy to adapt for my more humble kitchen. For the bread dough I used a hand mixer fitted with dough hooks, beating the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. And I made the pesto in my trusty food processor. I did find the dough required a bit more water than recommended and I covered the bread with foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking time to stop it browning too much. Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter. Oh and in case you were wondering, I used a mixture of basil, mint and parsley for my “H”erbs.
Boy oh boy am I glad I decided on a savoury dish for this month’s AlphaBakes as this bread is STUNNING, AMAZING, FABULOUS, EXQUISITE, GORGEOUS and any other effusive adjective you care to throw at it. It is by far and away the best bread I have ever made. Whilst the pesto itself is a little work, the bread dough was so easy to make, easy to handle and easy to roll that it was a pleasure to cook. It went into the oven looking fabulous and once baked, looked just as good. The bread was light and fluffy, packed full of flavour from the goats cheese and courgette pesto, and the linseeds and pinenuts added lots of texture. And it contains loads of courgettes so must count as one of your 5 a day right? Best of all, it is such a fantastic base recipe to which you could add all kinds of fillings. Which is a great excuse to make it over and over again.
As you have probably gathered, I am kind of in love with this bread and hope I can persuade you to give it a go too. So do yourself a favour, pop over to The British Larder, take down the recipe and get (Alpha)baking!