I've had the most ridiculous week. Laid up in bed for a large part of it, with a box of tissues, lozenges, syrups and paracetamol, nursing a very stubborn flu that isn't appearing to improve at all. Then last night things took a turn for the worse, and I went racing to the hospital for a late night doc visit, and came back with antibiotics and not much of a voice (that beautiful husky voice turns into a croak, and then pretty much vanishes, it turns out) The penicillin has helped though, so though I can't talk (and apparently I could be croaking for upto 6 weeks!! What?!), I can bake! So I thought I'd do something about my fresh-bread craving. There was an open bottle of pesto in the fridge that needed to be used too. Perfect.

What you need

Warm water - 1 cup

Dry yeast - 7 g

Plain flour - 2.5 cups

Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Salt - 1 tsp

Pesto (I used readymade pesto for this bread, but you can make your own) - 1/2 cup

Black pepper - 1 tsp

Egg wash ( 1 egg, beaten)

Pesto seahorse bread twist
Pesto seahorse bread twist

What you do

  1. Pour the water in a large mixing bowl
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on it, and give it 10 minutes to froth
  3. Add the flour, olive oil, and salt
  4. Mix the ingredients by hand to make a rough dough, and then knead on a clean surface until the dough is soft and elastic. Bread recipes normally say this takes about 15 minutes. I took about 25 for mine. You have to keep at it until the dough can be stretched almost paper thin without tearing! Knead, whack, punch - great exercise for the arms!
  5. Roll the dough into a ball
  6. Now rub a little oil on your palms and lightly grease the dough, place it back in your mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set aside to rise. I warmed my oven for about 2 minutes at 100 C, switched off, and then placed my bowl inside it.
  7. Let the dough rise to twice its size. Takes about an hour.
  8. Lightly flour your work surface
  9. Transfer the risen dough to your surface, and gently stretch and elongate it
  10. Roll into a rectangle of around 18 inches by 12 inches
  11. Spread your pesto evenly on the dough
  12. Sprinkle some black pepper on it too
  13. Gently roll the dough (long side) towards you. Gently seal the roll edge by pressing the edge close to you lightly onto the roll
  14. Cut the dough in half down the centre
  15. Squeeze the tops of the two halves together to seal
  16. Twist the two halves around each other, gently pulling as you move down the dough if you feel it's shrunk back
  17. Seal the bottoms of the two halves together
  18. Now shape your twist into an inverted S, to form a sea horse. You can also wrap into a wreath, or twirl into a spiral
  19. Transfer your shaped dough onto your baking tray
  20. Cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise for half an hour
  21. In the meantime pre-heat your oven to 220 C ( I use a fan-assisted oven)
  22. When the dough is ready to be baked, brush the top with egg wash
  23. Pop into the oven, and bake for 25 minutes
  24. When done, pull out, tear and share!

Tip: You could sprinkle parmesan on your twist just before popping it in the oven

Tell me how it turns out!