March 30, 2010

Pesto-Pine Nut Bread & Chocolate-Coffee Bread Cupcakes!

The middle and end of the month are usually slated for my ABin5/ HBin5 posts. This month I didn’t do a middle of the month post because I just couldn’t find the time to bake the breads on the schedule. As it happens, I didn’t manage to bake the breads scheduled for the end of this month either.
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and lets just say that this means that I have my hands full at this point in time. It also means that I have so many things I want to do but unable to always do them according to plan.

So this month, this ABin5/ HBin5 post is going to be about a couple of breads most others in the group have already made over the last month, but I managed to get around to just now! Hopefully by the middle of next month, I will have caught up with the rest of my bread baking friends.
There were a couple of breads, one from this mid-month braid (the pine nut pesto bread) and one from last month (chocolate espresso bread) that I did want to make.

I did alter both the recipes a bit, mostly the type and quantity of flours used. HBin5 emphasizes healthier bread through the use of non-refined flours. The fact of the matter is that most healthy breads aren’t very popular in our home, so there isn’t much point in spending time, effort and ingredients on something no one wants to eat.

Pesto-Pine Nut Bread

You might have noticed the HBin5 bread is called Pine Nut-Pesto Bread while I called mine Pesto-Pine Nut Bread. This is not about semantics, but because I made my pesto with walnuts.
When I made my pesto a couple of weeks back, I didn’t have any pine nuts and so made it with walnuts. A few days later I found a shop in town that sells pine nuts and bought some. So my bread has walnut pesto and pine nuts in it.

I worked with half the original recipe, but used only whole wheat and all purpose flours. Spelt and wheat gluten aren’t available in stores here. I reduced the garlic in the recipe to 1/2 tsp (we prefer garlic to faintly hover in the background as a flavour) and did not mix in the pine nuts in the dough.

I had seen and bookmarked a pesto bread recipe that Chuck of Cooking Bread made sometime back. He had detailed a very interesting and unusual way of filling and shaping the pesto bread, and that’s what I did here.
Here’s my adapted version of the HBin5 bread and Chuck's bread shaping method.


For the dough:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tbsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup water

½ tsp garlic paste

For filling:

1/4 cup walnut pesto (recipe follows)

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

About 2 to 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

To make walnut pesto (this recipe is from Ritu Dalmia’s Italian Khana; Keep a watch for my review of this book soon):
Put 150gm basil leaves, 2 cloves peeled garlic and 50 gm walnuts in a food processor and process till you get a smooth paste.With the processor running, add about 25 ml olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Stop the machine and add 75 gm freshly grated parmesan and process till the cheese is absorbed. Slowly add another 25 ml of olive oil and process till the pesto is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the bread:

Mix all the ingredients for the dough together. Use a bit more (be judicious) flour if the dough looks very wet. The dough should be moist but should not stick to your hands. Put the dough in a container and cover with plastic wrap or lid, but not tightly. Allow dough to rise for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours of rising, put dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours for easy handling. The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. I refrigerated my dough overnight and baked the bread next morning.

When ready to bake, take the dough out and shape the dough into an oval. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a rough rectangle about 1/4” thick.
Spread the pesto on the rectangle leaving a margin on the sides. Go a bit easy on the pesto or it can be over powering! Sprinkle the pesto nuts evenly over this and then the parmesan cheese.

Fold the sides of the rectangle inwards a bit and then roll the dough with the filling, in jelly roll style. Pinch the dough to make sure it has sealed well.

Now carefully, cut the rolled bread dough into 2 equal halves, lengthwise, with a sharp knife. Twist both halves together like a rope, ensuring the filled sides show on the outside. Place the twisted dough in a greased loaf tin and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake the bread at 180C for about 30 to 35 minutes till done. Unmould and cool on a rack. Wait till the bread has cooled completely before slicing.

Chocolate-Coffee Bread Cupcakes

As I mentioned earlier, the “chocolate” part of the Chocolate Espresso Bread had been calling to me for a while. I stuck to the recipe in the book except for using only all purpose flour for this bread.

I also worked with a quarter of the recipe and used filter coffee instead of espresso. I also decided to make the bread in the form of cupcakes which was one variation suggested by Jeff and Zoe.


The pesto bread was good. If you like pesto, then you will definitely like this bread. And I personally liked the idea of layering the pesto in the bread rather than mixing it up in the dough.
Not only did it make for a very attractive looking bread, it was also nice to be able to taste the pesto in it.
You can find the recipe for the Pesto Pine Nut Bread here.

I was mentally prepared to dislike the chocolate espresso bread for some unexplainable reason. I just had this feeling and am glad to say I was so wrong!

Made as cupcakes, with sugar sprinkled on top, this bread looks so good. They’re not cupcakes, but when you bite into them you might be forgiven for thinking they are. They do have the texture of bread but are very soft, perhaps because I used only all purpose flour.
A quarter of the recipe gave me 10 cupcakes.

Be prepared for the fact that this cupcake style chocolate bread is not at all sweet but has a strong chocolate flavour and is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
Here's a suggestion on a good way to eat these cupcakes. Just cut a “V” shaped cone off the top of one cupcake and fill the depression with strawberry jam or Nutella, and then replace the top of the cupcake.
You can find the recipe for the Chocolate Espresso Bread here.

You can see what breads were scheduled for this month end by visiting the HBin5 group’s member blogs.

My Pesto-Pine Nut Bread and the Coffee-Chocolate Bread/ Cupcakes are being YeastSpotted!


Cathy (breadexperience) said...

Yum! Your Pesto Pine Nut Bread looks great! I'll have to try that version. I loved this bread!

The chocolate-coffee bread cupcakes look good too! I like that idea!

Ria Mathew said...

A, both of them looks good! LOve the swirl in your pesto bread.

Btw,I think you have a double copied and pasted the post. It appears twice, one below the other.

Happy Cook said...

Till now i have never made savoury bread, I should make once one.
love the choco muffin too.

Arthi said...

Love the chocolate -coffee bread-muffin...Nice job aparna.. said...

Pesto bread looks amazing I love the swirls in the bread it must taste awesome.The cup cakes are so cute also.

Trendsetters said... r a wiz in baking

Shabs.. said...

wow....what a wondeful recipe!!!....u have mastered in artisan breads now....loved the pesto recipe...thanks for sharing the way as ria has mentioned u had put the recipe for the bread twice....check it out.

Divya Kudua said...

Love the swirls..those cupcakes look so pretty!!

Your post is appearing one after the the same page.

Curry Leaf said...

Love both the breads.Two days back,I tried the Abin5 method in a flatbread and it was amazing -no kneading at all.Only the rising time was more.
Love walnut pesto and the variations you have tried.The cupcakes are a must try.
Hey,the post is being repeated do something.

Aparna said...

Thanks for pointing out the problem. Think I tweaked the HTML of my blog template and caused the problem!
Its been taken care of (I think). Please let me know if there's still a problem.

Indhu said...

love the pesto bread... a must try soon :)

sayantani said...

am always amazed at how you create perfect breads each time. looks lovely and sure gonna taste great too.

Jenny Tan said...

Aparna, your orange tian(s), looks fabulous!! Love the arrangements of the orange segments!! YUM! :)

Danielle said...

Oh wow! your pesto pine nut bread is beautiful! And the cupcakes sound wonderful

Madhuli said...

Aparna loved the pesto bread..the swirls look very tempting..wish I could have a slice of it! :)

Mythreyee said...

I love pesto. I am definitely going to try this one. Looks like it is a no egg version of bread. A must try recipe. Thanks.

MeetaK said...

oh i am seriously liking this bread! it's just the perfect thing for a bbq party - brilliant aparna!

Mallugirl said...

really love the swirling look. choco espresso.. oh yum for me.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

I absolutely love the cupcake idea. Have a great Easter!

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for posting the link to Chuck's filling, rolling and braiding cool! I can't wait to try it!

So happy you enjoyed the Espresso Bread, we have that recipe again in a few weeks and it sounds so good!

Bonnie said...

I love the beautiful way that you shaped your pesto loaf. I really liked this bread, but I used my homemade pesto and it is quite a bit stonger in flavor than store bought pesto. Your ideas for the espresso chocolate bread are nice too. I didn't try this one but your cupcakes are beautiful.

Mama Peck said...

What a beautiful way to do the pesto- It looks positively delightful. Thanks for sharing that link!

bake in paris said...

These 2 recipes are great. I love pesto and this pesto pine-nut bread is definitely a keeper recipe.

By the way, I really enjoy the photos of the bread that highlight the texture, beautiful..... and photo of the cupcakes with the scattering chocolate chips is simply stunning :-) Great job!

Sawadee from bangkok,

Petra said...

Beautiful pictures and the best looking pesto bread I have ever seen. I will use this method on a future bread. Love, love, love it

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

How beautiful your Pesto Pine Nut Bread is! I will have to check out that link - thank you!

I didn't really care for the chocolate bread that much but your muffins certainly turned out nicely.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Both look so good, but those cupcakes REALLY look good, especially with the idea of slipping some jam or Nutella in there!

Teresa Bjork said...

I love the pesto "swirl" in your bread. It looks so tasty! The chocolate bread was a lot of fun to make. I liked it even though it wasn't very sweet.

Cristie said...

Your pesto bread is just beautiful, I love the swirl- a perfect treatment. The cupcakes aren't on my list either, but you have given me something to think about- they are darling they way you have them in the picture.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I love pesto...but not pine nuts! I use flaked almonds instead. The bread looks awesome...........

Gala said...

The bread sounds delicious and I love the way you shaped it.

The cupcakes sound intriguing and filling them with nutella and a strawberry totally bought me!

Elwood said...

Loved that braiding and shaping technique, thanks for the link! Your pesto bread looks great.

Jayasri said...

Both of them look great, I liked those lines in those bread peeping though, good click too

Joanne said...

I love the way you made the pine nut bread - swirled almost like a cinnamon roll! That is lovey and so visually appealing. I bet it tasted great!

Ezzie said...

Great post on these breads. I love the way your pesto bread came out! Thanks for the link to Chuck's site. I've bookmarked it because the loaf reminds me of babka and I think I will try to make a loaf of babka like this! Great job on the cupcakes also!

Aparna said...

Thanks everyone. Yes, Chuck does make some very, very good bread.
Hope you all had a great Easter weekend.

Aparna said...

Thanks everyone. Yes, Chuck does make some very, very good bread.
Hope you all had a great Easter weekend.

Mike said...

What a grate product pine nuts are, a source for pine nuts or pignoli nuts there are American organic grown they are superb in-shell raw or shelled raw there web sight is a simple comment to let you know you don’t have to buy importer pine nuts any more. Mike