Chrysanthemum Bread With Pesto Filling
I only had a tablespoon of dried yeast and I wanted to use it for a special bread. And ‘special’ for me is one with a filling that my boys will finish off without a fuss.😬 I had made Chrysanthemum bread on a few occasions and always with a different filling. This is the first time I made it with pesto.
I had seen this flower-shaped bread on Pinterest and couldn’t take my mind off it. It’s also referred to as Russian or Georgian Chrysanthemum bread. What I liked most about it besides the ‘petals’, was the filling. That’s what makes it so moist and soft as you bite into it. Of course the addition of milk, butter and eggs into the dough also makes it richer and brioche-like. But the thought of the amount of yeast made me cut down on the flour and instead of butter, I used extra virgin olive oil.
It’s therapeutic baking a bread like this. The end result is satisfying. Moist from that extra oil in the pesto, it’s a delight to bite into a piece. And this was the first time I used peanuts for the pesto.
It’s high time I turned to sour dough breads. At least I won’t have to worry about yeast. A couple of attempts at making the starter failed and I never tried it again. Anyway let’s get to the recipe of this floral bread…
2 cups whole-wheat flour + extra for dusting and kneading
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
½ cup warm milk
1 teaspoon fine sugar to activate the yeast
1 beaten egg
Dash of salt
Freshly-cracked black pepper as per taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Butter to grease the baking pan
(If you feel you need more liquid, you can add a bit more milk to the dough as you knead. You’ll get the feel once you start kneading).
For the egg wash…a mixture of beaten egg mixed with a bit of milk
Place the warm milk in a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast, give it a stir with a spoon and set aside for about ten minutes.
Mix the two kinds of flour. After ten minutes or so, the yeast will froth up.
Add the flour, salt, beaten egg, oil, and start mixing the dough. I do it all by hand. Once it comes together, transfer the contents on to your work top and knead for about 8-10 minutes.
Grease your bowl, after removing the bits of dough, and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise till it doubles in size. This may take about an hour.
While the dough is proving, make your filling. In this case I made pesto with basil leaves, peanuts, few cloves of garlic, black pepper, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Minced meat or minced sausages work very well for this kind of bread.
Once the dough has risen, knock back the air. Knead gently for a minute or so. Cut into half, take one portion and roll into a large disc on a lightly-floured surface. Cut out circles about 3 mm in thickness. My cutter’s size? 3 cms in diametre. The remaining dough can be made into a ball and rolled for more discs. Take one disc and place a teaspoon of filling on it. Keep a small bowl of water handy to moisten the edges before sealing them. Fold like a half moon and seal the edges. Fold the half moon in the middle and start lining your baking dish with the prepared ‘petals’. I used a tart tin with a removable bottom. Please check the picture in the collage.
In the centre, I placed a small ball of dough. Then I used my pastry cutter and cut up some daisies to decorate the centre. The flowers were moistened with water and placed on the sphere in the middle of the ‘petals’.
Set aside for another 20 minutes or so.
Brush with a mixture of milk and eggs and bake in a preheated 180 C oven for about 30 minutes till the bread is golden brown.
Wonderful on their own because of the filling. But for a slight variation I teamed it up with some left-over chicken curry and a salad of tomatoes from my potted garden.
Thank you for stopping by today.