Pesto Braid Bread
2 cups bread flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
1 cup water
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts or sunflower kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled
1. Dough: In large bowl, mix 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
2. In saucepan, melt butter in water. Let cool to 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F on instant-read thermometer. Add to flour; beat with spoon until combined. Stir in eggs. Stir in remaining bread flour, then all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time.
3. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth, 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour if needed. Place in greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 hour.
4. Filling: Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Add parsley if desired.
5. Punch down dough; let rest 5 minutes.
6. Divide dough in half. Cover one half. Divide remaining half into thirds. Roll out a third into 15 x 5-inch rectangle. Spread with 3 tablespoons filling. Roll up from long side. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.
7. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Braid 3 ropes. Tuck ends under. Place on baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic.
8. Repeat with other half of dough for second loaf. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
9. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover loaves. Brush with a small amount of leftover pesto if desired.