Bread. Excellent for relieving not only culinary inertia, but also a fine tension-buster as you knead the dough into submission. Get your kids into the act and you may never have to buy bread again. This is an easy one.
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp quick-rise instant yeast, (1 envelope)
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot tap water
2 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
1/4 cup prepared pesto
In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup (250 mL) of the all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, the yeast granules and the salt. Add the hot water and oil and stir until the mixture is smooth (it will be sticky). Now stir in the remaining all purpose flour, 1/4 cup (50 mL) at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon until it becomes difficult to stir.
At this point, sprinkle some of the remaining all purpose flour onto your counter or table, spread it around a bit, then turn the lump of dough out onto this floured surface. Begin kneading the dough by hand, adding only as much additional flour as is necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands (or the table). Continue to knead, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic or your children’s arms are tired – whichever comes first. (You might not have to use all the flour.)
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Turn it over to make sure all the sides of the dough are oiled, then cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until double in volume – about 30 to 45 minutes.
When the dough has doubled, punch it down to deflate it, then knead it a few times on a floured surface. Let rest for 5 minutes. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to an 8 x 12-in. (20 x 30 cm) rectangle. Spread evenly with the pesto almost, but not quite all the way to the edges of the dough. Starting with the short end, roll the dough up as tightly as you can and place the roll, seam-side-down, into a greased bread pan – 8 x 5-in. (20 x 13 cm). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until almost double in size – 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Brush the top of the loaf with warm water, then sprinkle lightly with corn meal, sesame seeds, garlic powder or sea salt. Place loaf into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Remove from pan and let cool slightly before devouring.
Makes one irresistible loaf of bread.
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