I’m not a natural born chef and I cannot blow anyone’s mind with culinary expertise. However, I love to bake or, should I say, loved to bake. Ever since my diagnosis as type 1 diabetic everything to do with food became a chore and all the rules to do with nutrition and “being good” made the prospect of baking pretty daunting.
For this reason (and the fact her cooking is sooo good), I handed the power over what I eat to my mum and she remains to be the head chef of the household. I’m eternally grateful to her for everything she does for me which, to be fair, is a lot. Anyone who has been diabetic for a long time will know the unrelenting ballache of carb counting. Yay, shout out to Debs! She has the mathematics and formulas down to a precision art. Myself and my father, on the other hand, take a more “avant-garte” approach…
Recently we embarked on an experiment which was as hilarious as delicious. Mark as the muscle and myself as the brains, we made Pesto braided bread and carb counted the recipe!!! I just felt an urge to bake and, although I can have cakes and biscuits etc, bread seemed like a baked good which wouldn’t pull a metaphorical “moonie”^ at my condition. Whether it was the triumphant return of the Great British Bake Off or my constant searches on Pinterest is debatable but, one thing is for sure, they were damn tasty (and surprisingly easy)! Therefore, here’s the original recipe and below is the basic gist of what we did if you want to give it a go!
Pesto braided bread
- 390g Plain flour (and extra for sprinkling)
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil (and extra for proving)
- 265ml warm water
- 1.5 tablespoons sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 8 tablespoons Green pesto (you could use red pesto but green is the superior type in my opinion)
- Mix the yeast in the warm water and wait for it to go frothy. Then, add the oil and sugar and mix some more!
- Make a dent in your flour and add the liquids. Mix with a wooden spoon until it is all combined and makes a dough. In the original recipe the salt was not mentioned so we just added it into the mix and hoped for the best.
- Dust a surface and your hands with flour and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. This is important as I very quickly found out when the dough began to engulf my hands as you can see in the picture.
- Rub some olive oil around a bowl and put your dough in to prove. Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave it somewhere warm for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Lightly dust a surface again, visually mentalize someone who has annoyed you then you knock out the air from the dough.
- Once satisfied, halve the mixture and roll out each half into a rectangular shape that is about 9×18 inches. Spread half of your pesto onto the dough then roll the longest edge up to the other side and slice the dough in half lengthways. Repeat this to the other rectangle!
- Twist two lengths of bread together being careful to keep the pesto facing upwards as to ensure maximum aesthetic pleasure! Cut the rope into 4 equal pieces and repeat with the other two lengths. Pop them onto a baking tray, cover with clingfilm and prove for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170c for 15 minutes while the bread proves again. Once the half an hour is up, put them into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown!
These breads did turn me to sin:
- Pride- just look at them, my little babies all piled up!
- Gluttony- I ate double the serving size with one meal (and regretted nothing)
- Envy- My dad, as a male, was able to consume more than me and ate them with his homemade pumpkin soup which, for the record, was also yummy and a great way to utilise the innards of Jack-o-lanterns!
- Wrath- Betrayed by my gender (please see number 3)
Honestly, I won’t divulge into the estimated nutritional value for this recipe as it could have been a fluke that my glucose levels were good afterwards! For anyone who is really struggling with values, however, there are tonnes of great websites online with nutrition calculators for recipes! I was totally amazed by this discovery since I had no idea they even existed and they even do nutrition per serving size! *cue swooning*
^A “moonie” is an offensive (and, sometimes, hysterical) exposure of one’s bottom in order to offend or outrage the viewer.