You will need:
French bread pan for two loaves - grease the pan with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal
Mixer with bread hooks (or you can do it the old-fashioned way - knead by hand)
Pastry sheet for rolling out the dough
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 packages dry yeast (.5 oz)
7 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups of basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon water
- Mix water, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Give the mixture 5 minutes to dissolve and get slightly frothy.
- Start the mixer and gradually add the 7 cups of flour.
- Knead until the dough forms a large elastic ball. If you are doing this by hand, it will take about 15 minutes. It will only take about 5-7 minutes if you are using bread hooks. The dough should not be too sticky. If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out on a floured surface and add a little extra flour when it starts to stick to your fingers.
- Grease a large bowl with olive oil and also coat the ball of dough with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with saran wrap.
- Set the bowl in a warm place and let it rise until double (about an hour, less if you are using fast rising yeast).
- While the dough is rising, put all the pesto ingredients, except the Parmesan, into a blender and process until smooth.
- Place the pesto in a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
- Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Knead it a few times and then shape the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 14" x 10". You can roll the dough out or simply pat it into shape
- Cut the rectangle in half and spread pesto on both halves. Don't spread the pesto all the way to the edges.
- Tightly roll up each half into a loaf and pinch together the bottom seam and ends of the loaf.
- Place the loaves, seam side down in the bread pan.
- Take a utility scissor or very sharp knife and make diagonal slashes across the loaves.
- Cover the loaves with a light linen towel and let them rise for about an hour in a warm place or until the loaves are double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees just before the loaves are almost completely risen.
- Using a pastry brush, carefully brush the loaves with the egg wash and put them in the oven.
- Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, brush them again with the egg wash and return the loaves to the oven for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.