This picture is completely unrelated to anything I have written in this post. This was lunch; it was chicken and vegetable stir fry with sweet and chilli sauce served with coconut rice.
Today as I listened to my new favourite band, Vampire Weekend, I baked up some pesto rolls. These lovely creations are crunchy and crisp on the outside and melt in your mouth on the inside. The aroma of garlic and basil is unbelievable and it adds an interesting twist to traditional dinner rolls. They go well with soups, salads, curry, or absolutely anything. If you're the kind of person who ends up stuffing yourself with the bread they serve in fancy restaurants before you get your meal, this is a sure win. These rolls are as good as any of the fancy restaurant rolls and you can enjoy them while sitting around at home in your pyjamas without bothering about any of the snooty people watching the crumbs sticking to the sides of your face. The crunch of walnuts add that extra something to the pesto and create magic. Enough said, here's the recipe:
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (don't freak out if you don't have this, add 1/3 cup of cheddar or add a little more walnuts)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp plus 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 and 1/4 cup of bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
Step 1 - Make the pesto:
- Combine the basil, garlic, olive oil, cheese, walnuts and 1/2 tsp of salt in a food processor or blender till it becomes a coarse paste.
Step 2 - Mix rest and knead the dough:
- Pour the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Remember, as I said before in the other recipes, not to use water that is boiling hot or too warm as this will kill the yeast.
- To this add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk by hand
- Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes till the yeast is activated and the mixture becomes frothy.
- Mix in the pesto, the remaining 3 cups of flour and the remaining amount of salt.
- Mix together for about 2-3 minutes and let it stand for about 20 minutes so that the mixture hydrates itself.
- After this knead the dough for about 6-7 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Step 3 - Rise the dough:
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the ball of dough in it.
- Brush the ball of dough with a bit of olive oil.
- Cover the bowl with a damp lint free cloth or cling film for about an hour till the dough doubles in size.
Step 4 - Shape the rolls:
- Punch down the dough to expel large air bubbles.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Take each part of dough and create a small disc out of it.
- Fold the disc into half.
- Cup this piece of dough and mold it into a ball without rolling the dough between your palms like you normally would.
- Try stretching the dough and folding it at the bottom to create a little mound. This might be a little difficult at first as it was my first time too. It is a little tough to explain exactly how this process should work but I'm hoping the pictures help.
- Place the rolls onto a baking tray lined with wax paper or butter paper, keeping each roll at least 3 inches apart from each other.
- Cover with a damp lint-free cotton towel and let the rolls rise for about 35-40 minutes. This stage is called proofing the dough.
- If you want to you can slit crosses on the top of the rolls once they finish rising (just for decoration purposes).
- Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit or 200 degrees celsius for about 30-35 minutes or till the rolls turn crisp and brown on top.