I have made other variations of this Russian Braided Bread pre-blog days and remembered it turning out simply amazing! The outside is brilliantly crusty, while the inside is like a soft doughy, heavenly pillow. This baby was simply baked to perfection. After making it again today, with my variation of a sun dried tomato and olive pesto, I thought to myself, why aren't bakeries selling something like this??? This is seriously the BEST bread that has ever touched my taste buds!
One thing to remember when dealing breads or pastries is that the dough can become sticky, messy and frustrating. Something I have learned along the way to minimize doughy, sticky fingers is to always coat your hands with flour. This will prevent gooey fingers and countless attempts to wash off the dough.
Vegan Sundried Tomato and Olive Pesto Braided Bread
for the bread dough:
3 - 3 1/2 c all purpose flour (plus more flour if needed)
1 package of active instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c water
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar
for the Sun dried Tomato and Olive Pesto:
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes
1/4 c kalamato olives
1/4 c green olives
1-2 tbsp evoo
Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor, using the dough attachment. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and slowly pour into the food processor. Mix the dough until a ball is formed. Remove from food processor. Lightly oil a bowl, place dough in bowl and cover with a wet cloth and let dough rise for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
In the meantime, start making your pesto. Simply combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
After an hour, knead dough with hands for about 5 minutes. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 in thick. With a spoon, evenly spread the sun dried tomato pesto over the entire dough. Cut the dough in half, lengthwise and place the two halves in an "X" form. Now braid the two pieces together by, left over right. Pinch each ends together, then roll into a giant snail shell. Place bread onto baking sheet and bake on 400 for about 10 minutes, then turn down to 375 and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.