In my family, everyone loves to cook with the exception of my younger brother. My dad has really taken on the chef role for several years now, and is always working on his bread recipes. From homemade soft pretzels, to pizza crust, to no knead bread, my dad does it all! This recipe is one of his more recent creations that he made for my last night home for spring break. It tastes even better than it looks, and would be a great item to bring or serve at a party or get together if you are trying to impress a crowd. The fancy shape of the bread is actually very easy to accomplish, and can be done with any combination of bread and filling recipes. So without further ado…
Makes 10 pieces
For the Dough:
• 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons salt
• Olive oil
For the Filling:
• ¼ cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (could also just use basil)
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• Ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons of oil from the container of the sun dried tomatoes
1. Combine the yeast with ¼ of the cups of lukewarm water and let stand until dissolved. Stir once after about 5 minutes
2. Put 2 ¼ cups of flour into a bowl (or in the food processor. Whichever way you prefer to make the bread)
3. Combine the dissolved yeast with the rest of the lukewarm water and pour into the flour. Work with your hands (or the pulse button) until just mixed.
4. Add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time, again until just mixed.
5. Keep adding the flour until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl and into a ball. It should be soft and sticky.
6. Continue working the dough (by hand or food processor) until the dough becomes elastic (about 60 seconds)
7. Shape the dough into a ball, and place in a large bowl lightly covered in olive oil. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size (1-1 ½ hours)
8. Drain the sundried tomatoes, saving the oil. Coarsely chop until you have 1/3 of a cup.
9. Mix the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and the other ingredients for the filling in a separate bowl, and put aside. This is where your house is going to start to smell amazing.
10. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour your working surface and knock out the air for about 20 seconds. Cover and let rise again for 5 minutes.
11. Flatten and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, making a rectangle about 16×12 inches in length.
12. Spread filling evenly over the dough leaving a ½ inch border.
13. Roll the dough into a cylinder (much like you would cinnamon rolls), and pinch together. Do not pinch the outer sides together.
14. Place dough seam side down onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Form a ring.
15. With a knife, cut slits about ¾ into the dough, making cuts 2 inches apart.
16. Once you have gone around the whole ring, take individual pieces, and twist them so they are facing upwards making your wreath shape.
17. Lightly brush the top of the bread in more oil from the sun dried tomatoes.
18. Bake in an oven set to 425 for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature down to 375 and bake until golden brown (about 10 more minutes)
19. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
My family of four ate all but one piece of this bread. It was fresh out of the oven and impossible to resist. Let me know how this recipe works for you in the comments below!