Pesto Bread

Makes 12

An afternoon tea classic with an Italian twist


  • 3 tsp olive oil, to grease
  • 680g strong white flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 150g pesto


  1. Grease the loaf tin with 1 teaspoon of the oil.
  2. Place the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, add the water and pesto then mix until it forms a dough. Transfer to a lightly oiled work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
  3. Knock back the dough, knead for a few minutes then shape to fit the tin and place in. Allow to double in size again and when it is nearly ready heat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 200°C/Gas 6 and bake for a further 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the tin and tap the base ─ when cooked, it should make a hollow sound. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tip: Cream cheese and cucumber, seasoned with a little freshly ground black pepper, makes the perfect filling for dainty sandwiches made with this bread ─ cut off the crusts to make them really posh!