170gpesto of choice (dairy free as required)Drained (keep the oil for use in the bread or for cooking)
olive oilto oil hands
1egg + a little milkfor egg wash
30gcheeseto sprinkle on top (optional). DF if needed.
Drain the Pesto in advance
If using Pesto from a jar, leave to drain gently through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.
Save the oil to use either in the bread or to cook with later.
Set the drained pesto aside.
Prepare the bread tins
Rub the inside of the bread tin(s) with butter and base-line with baking paper (cut to size).
Drop a teaspoon of gluten free flour (brown rice/sorghum/buckwheat) into the tin and gently shake round the tin to dust the oiled sides.
Tip out the excess flour and set aside.
To make the gluten free dough
Mix together the dry ingredients (flours, flax, psyllium husk, salt, bicarbonate of soda, milk powder and yeast) in an airtight container and shake vigorously to blend.
Base-line the bread tin(s) with good non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, oil/melted butter, honey and lemon juice to combine.
Add the hand-warm water and whisk through with the other wet ingredients. It should foam on the top.
Next, add the dry ingredients and beat well to blend (preferably using an electric whisk with a dough hook attachment). If you don't have a dough hook, use a sturdy silicone/wooden spoon and beat hard until well blended. The mixture should look like porridge when done.
Place the bowl to one side and leave to stand untouched for a full 10 minutes. This is important and will enable the flours to absorb the liquid and hydrate fully.
After hydrating, beat the mixture hard again (with dough hook or spoon) until stiff and holding its shape. The dough ‘batter’ will resemble very thick porridge.
Shaping the dough into rolls
Lay a large piece of non-stick baking paper on the counter-top to work on.
Preferably wearing close-fitting vinyl food gloves, lightly oil the hands with a drop of olive oil.
Lightly oil the surface of the baking paper too, by rubbing it with oiled hands.
Pull off about two-thirds of the rough-looking dough and gently work it into a smooth piece with your hands. (see photo in main blog post)
Place it on the baking paper and flatten slightly into a rough rectangle shape with hands.
Lightly oil a rolling pin and then roll the dough out to a large rectangle about 35 cm x 25 cm. If necessary, re-oil the pin if it starts to stick. (see photo in main blog post)
Spread the rectangle with the drained Pesto using the back of a spoon, leaving a bare edge of 2 to 3 cm at one short end. (see photo in main blog post)
If not already in place, turn the dough so that the bare edge is closest to you.
With the help of the baking paper, carefully roll the dough in on itself from the far end, so that you have a tightish Pesto-filled dough 'swiss roll' shape. (see photo in main blog post)
Gently push the bare edge into the roll to seal.
Trim the two ends (optional) and set the trimmings on a lined baking sheet to bake as rolls.
Using a very sharp knife that has been lightly oiled, cut the dough roll lengthways from top to bottom. (see photo in main blog post)
Carefully and gently cross the two dough strips over each other and then cross again, until you have a twisted striped dough. (see photo in main blog post)
If making a single two-pound loaf, carefully lift and transfer the twisted dough to the prepared baking tin (you may need the support of a fish slice/spatula to help). If making two one-pound loaves, cut the dough twist in half and place each half in prepared one-pound tins.
Lightly drape a piece of clingfilm over the top of the tins and place in a warm place to prove for about 45 minutes to an hour (dependent on room temperature), until the dough is nearly double in size.
Meanwhile, take the remaining dough and shape into a few rolls using oiled hands.
Place the dough rolls onto a lined baking sheet and set aside to prove until almost double in size.
Egg-wash and decoration
While the dough is proving, prepare the egg-wash by lightly beating an egg with a little milk.
Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5. Be sure to place a heat-proof dish at the bottom ready to add boiling water before baking (boil a kettle in advance). OR set the oven to steam at three x 5 minute intervals once the rolls are ready to bake.
When the dough has risen, lightly brush the Babka dough and rolls with egg-wash and sprinkle with a little cheese (optional).
Bake the bread
Just before baking, carefully fill the heat-proof dish with boiling water (or check the oven's steam setting) and then place the dough loaves and rolls into the oven.
Bake the rolls for between 14 and 18 minutes (approx) at 190 C... (they will be golden brown when done and hollow-sounding when tapped). Remove quickly from the oven, leaving the loaves baking.
After about 18 to 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4, and continue to bake the Babka for a further 15 to 20 minutes (possibly a little longer for a two pound loaf). until well risen, firm , crusty on the surface and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove the loaves from the oven and gently tip out of the tin, but then return to the hot oven for a further 3 to 5 minutes to allow the surface to become crusty.
Cool on a wire rack.
Can be eaten warm or cold.
Store in an airtight bag at a coolish room temperature or freeze on the day of making.
* Note: nutritional information is an estimate & may vary according to portion size/ingredient variants.Yeast - The yeast used for this recipe is an INSTANT yeast. If mixing up the dry ingredients ahead of time, do not add the yeast until ready to bake as the salt will cause the yeast to deteriorate.Gluten Free Alchemist Rice Free Flour Blend B can be found on the GFA Flours & Flour BlendingPage.Specific flour ratios for 250g of Blend B : Equivalent to 50g sorghum flour; 25g white teff flour; 25g buckwheat flour; 80g tapioca starch flour; 30g potato starch flour; 40g corn flour (starch). If you cannot eat dairy, substitute the milk powder with a dairy-free alternative (depending on the milk-base, the flavour may be affected slightly, although I have used coconut milk powder and it has not been noticeable). You can also use warm liquid milk to replace the water (at the same volume as the water) and leave out the milk powder.