This is an easy to make, very reliable, easy to freeze and popular bap using pesto ideal for picnics and packed-lunches. It is based on an article by Dan Lepard author of The Handmade Loaf, for Soft White Baps and adapted to include pesto after having tasted something similar in a bakery in The Shambles in York some years ago. I used a basil pesto and a handful of dried basil, but Dan's recipe lends itself to other flavours such as cheese and onion, or cheese and rosemary, olives and rosemary - fresh if you have it. Coriander pesto also works well: experiment.
The recipe has a couple of steps, but each is straightforward. Dan's original suggests 9 baps at 150g each, but I find these a bit big and so make 16-17 80g baps instead.
The first is to make a sponge which is a wet dough used as a starter for the main dough.
- 12g cornflour
- 525g strong white flour
- 1 sachet easy-blend yeast
- 1 jar of your favourite basil pesto
- Warm water
Empty the jar of pesto into a mixing bowl and then add warm water until the total weighs 480g (I use the jar for the water as it lets me get the last morsel of pesto out). I try not to take a sample of pesto along the way. Next, add the remaining sponge ingredients and stir with a dough whisk or similar. Cover the bowl with clingfilm then leave for 2-3 hours after which it will have risen considerably.
- 125g milk (we use skimmed - use some water if whole milk)
- 75g unsalted butter
- 15g cornflour
- 275g strong white flour
- 50g sugar
- 2½ tsp salt (we use Cornish Fine Seasalt)
- a handful of dried basil, to taste
Bring the milk (or water/milk) to the boil - I use the microwave for a couple of minutes. Put the cubed butter into it and stir to melt it and leave to one side to cool a little while adding all of the other ingredients to the sponge. Add the slightly cooled milk/butter to the mixture and stir together with your dough whisk. Over the next half hour, give a three short kneads on a lightly oiled surface. After this period leave the dough for a further 15 minutes.
Next, using your scales and a dough cutter, divide the dough into 80g pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a floured surface and place onto an oiled baking tray, depressing the ball to make a flattened bap shape. When finished, dredge the baps with flour and then leave for about 45 minutes after which time they will have doubled in volume. Bake at 220°C (200°C for fan ovens) for about 25 minutes. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool on the tray before removing.