When I was doing my baking course last year one of my favourite parts of the course was working with enriched dough and making cinnamon buns. So when I spotted this pesto whirls recipe in my magazine I knew it would definitely be one of the things I would have a go at. And as luck would have it I still had some of my homemade spinach and basil pesto left over. After promising to make these whirls all weekend I finally got my act together at 1.30pm last Sunday, which I thought might be cutting it a bit fine if we wanted to test them out that evening but undaunted I carried on.
The first task was to swap half the white flour for wholemeal flour before adding all the ingredients to make the dough, which it has to be said was pretty nice and easy to work with. Next came the first prove. The recipe states 1-3 hours and mine was ready in about 2 hours and so after knocking back the dough and rolling out to the required shape the fun bit could start.
As usual I didn’t have all the correct ingredients so after covering my dough with a good layer of pesto I added some drained and semi dry mozzarella and sundried tomatoes before adding grated manchego, blobs of blue cheese and rather a lot of torn fresh basil. I then rolled my dough before cutting it into 12 pieces to reveal my very full pesto whirls in all their glory.
After another hour proving they were ready to go in the oven. The recipes states 35-40 minutes and I left mine in for 35 minutes as I have a fan oven. However, I was pretty disappointed with the finished whirls as I got distracted writing my Rival Sons post. I should have checked them a little earlier as they were slightly darker than I’d hoped.
They still had a good texture and they tasted great, but my version definitely don’t look as appetizing as the picture in the magazine! From start to finish these took less than six hours to make which is pretty impressive when compared with other breads I’ve made.
I’m planning to make these again next weekend but this time I want to swap the white flour for half spelt and half wholemeal plus I want to try it with red pesto and maybe some roasted red peppers as well. Pine nuts would be good, but as they’re expensive I might try sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead to give them a slightly crunchy texture.
If you want to give these a whirl I have included the recipe (from the latest edition of Good Food magazine) and the method below:
- 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet of fast -action dried yeast
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
- 240g tub semi-dried tomatoes drained and roughly chopped
- 150g fresh pesto
- 100g grated mozzarella (ready-grated is best as it’s drier)
- 50g grated parmesan
- Handful of basil leaves
- Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 ½ tsp fine salt in a large bowl or tabletop mixer.
- Measure out 300ml warm water and add roughly 280ml to the flour along with the olive oil.
- Start mixing until all the ingredients start to clump together as a dough. If the dough is too dry add more water.
- Once combined, knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes on a medium speed in the mixer.
- When the dough feels soft, springy and elastic it is ready.
- Use a clean bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Pop in the dough and turn it over so that it’s covered with the oil. Make sure the sides of the bowl are also coated with the oil.
- Cover with oiled cling film and set aside in a warm place to double in size. This should take between 1-3 hours.
- Line a baking tray with parchment.
- Uncover the dough and punch it down a couple of times with your fist, knocking out the air.
- Tip onto a floured surface and dust with a little flour if it’s sticky.
- Roll the dough out to a rectangle roughly 40x30cm.
- Spread the pesto over the dough, then scatter the tomatoes, both cheeses and basil.
- Roll the dough up from the longer sides into a long sausage and cut into 12 pieces with a sharp knife.
- Place on the baking tray cut side up in a 4×3 formation, making sure the open end is tucked in toward the middle as this will ensure it doesn’t unroll during cooking.
- Leave a little space so they have enough room to grow while proving.
- Loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for a second time until they have doubled in size. This should take around 30mins- 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- When the whirls have doubled in size remove the cling film and bake them on the middle shelf in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
- The centre should be dry and not doughy.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes