As life whizzes by at its frantic pace, I love having a couple of nights a month pencilled in my calendar to catch up with friends. Book club, wine club, school mums club, first Wednesday of the month club… call it what you will, it’s a time to be surrounded by the people who make me feel grounded and to pull up a stool to the kitchen counter, pour some wine and enjoy simple but hearty food.
This recipe for pull-apart bread, served with our recently launched Pesto Princess Red Lentil Soup is perfect for these sorts of gatherings. You can use whatever you like as a filling (choose any of the Pesto Princess pestos or pastes) and it’s a good excuse for everyone to reach over and get stuck in!
Here’s to great gatherings with your people,
You will need
1 kg bread dough (use the recipe below or you can buy ready-made bread dough from the bakery section of most supermarkets).
Flour for dusting
130g jar Pesto Princess Harissa Paste
200g Danish feta
Oil for brushing
2-3 packets Pesto Princess Red Lentil Soup (depending on how many people you are feeding).
For the bread (makes 1 kg):
625g strong white flour (bread/cake flour)
4 tsp castor sugar
1½ tsp salt
2¾ tsp instant yeast
3 Tbsp sunflower oil
400 ml warm water (not boiling, just warm from the tap).
1. If you are making your own bread dough from scratch, mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the oil and gradually mix in the water to make a soft dough. Knead well, either by hand – on a floured surface – or with a mixer with a dough hook attachment for about 6–10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
2. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface to roughly a 45cm x 35cm rectangle – your dough should be about 5mm thick.
3. Spread the dough with the Pesto Princess Harissa Paste and crumble your feta cheese evenly over dough.
4. Roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly.
5. Transfer your rolled up dough to a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, make 4cm slices.
6. Line a 20cm cake tin or oven-proof round cast iron pan with parchment paper, brush with oil and arrange the slices in circles. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 30 minutes to rise. In winter, you can let your dough rise in the oven (on as low a setting as possible) and leave a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it open.
7. Remove the plastic wrap, brush with a little oil and cook at 200°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Sprinkle with a little salt before serving with the delicious Pesto Princess Red Lentil Soup.
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Cape Brewing Company Pale Ale
I had a real think about the best match for this dish, which has a powerful punch of flavour. What better than the brand new Cape Brewing Company Pale Ale. Chill it right down to serve. Somehow for me, beer and bread are great partners. Must be a yeasty thing.
It looks like: Very smart in its can – a first for CBC. Packed in fours. In the glass, a light golden amber.
It smells like: Malty, hoppy nose.
It tastes like: Delicate hops, though packed with lovely fruit, a touch of tropical lime and passion fruit. So thirst quenching.