I've always had a thing with bread. Mum and Dad have a bread maker, and for as long as I remember, have been making this epic focaccia that gets served alongside almost every meal when we have visitors around. I went through a sourdough phase for a while (which I can't wait to get back into once our oven is fixed!), and a year or so ago I discovered the magic of babka - a fluffy brioche dough, filled with whatever magic you fancy, and twirled up into swirly shapes before being baked off. I am always amazed at how pretty the sliced dough is, and I love how versatile it can be. Can't stop, won't stop babkaing. I went down the savoury road this time, and made this roasted garlic, tomato and ricotta pesto brioche knot, and some little baby ones to go alongside it, just in case mini bread is your kind of thing.
This is the first of a few recipe posts in partnership with Filippo Berio. I have been using their olive oil for years, so I was super excited when they suggested making some fun things together using their pesto range as part of their Pestonality Tour! I am going to be attending the Rosé and Bubbly Festival (yes that is a thing!) this Saturday to take part in the tour, and can't wait to give you a wee behind the scenes on Instagram stories!
Filippo Berio has an amazing range of pesto, including this tomato and ricotta version, which is quite possibly my new favourite thing. It is vibrant and flavourful, with a lovely cheesy flavour, and it would taste great with a whole load of things - I can't wait to stir it into pasta sauce, but it would also be perfect as an addition to a cheese board. This time, I mixed up with a little roasted garlic and extra ricotta for stability, before spreading all over my favourite Brioche dough, rolling it up tightly, then cutting in half and twisting into a knot! I was a little nervous at first and made Rich roll up a towel to practice with, then realised it's really just as simple as crossing one end over the other, and tucking the ends in nicely. Easy easy! I also made it into some wee knots - same recipe and process, just in mini. I've included both versions in the instructions. The bread is fluffy and the filling is super yum - this would be perfect for a lunch, or alongside a meal. We had ours with some homemade tomato soup, and it was crazy delicious. I hope you give this recipe a try! I can't wait to share the rest of the Filippo Berio Range with you!
A few wee tips:
This is easier to braid than you think! All you do is cross one end over the other, and then tuck the ends under. You look super fancy, but it's super easy.
I have included an hour rest in the freezer with this. This makes the dough firm and much easier to roll out thin. If you don't want to do this step, you can make the dough the night before, and give it its first rise overnight in the fridge. Then the next day all you need to do is roll it out, fill it, then roll it up and shape, before giving it its second proof before baking.
Depending on the weather the dough may need a teeny bit more liquid - add this a teaspoon at a time in the first kneading stage if it is having a hard time forming a soft dough.
This recipe includes roasted garlic, which is super delicious - I love how mellow it is. This needs some time to cool before going into the filling so either prep it ahead or pop it in when you start the dough - you can make a whole bunch all at once and use them for all sorts of things! If you don't want to roast the garlic you can leave it out.
I finished this off with pretzel salt because I love it, but a flaky sea salt will work perfectly.
Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Ricotta Pesto Brioche Knot
- Makes One large Knot, or Eight Small Knots -
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (200ml) whole milk, lukewarm
2 Tbsp sugar
545g (3 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, finely chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 head of garlic
130g Filippo Berio Tomato and Ricotta Pesto
2 Tbsp Ricotta
Egg wash - 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
Flaky Sea salt or Pretzel Salt, to finish
- PROCESS -
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, remaining 1 Tbsp sugar, and basil. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. If it is not coming together, add extra milk a teaspoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, punch down slightly and shape into a rectangle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and place on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for one hour to firm up before rolling. If you have made your dough ahead of time and risen it overnight in the fridge, you can skip this step.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY.
To make the roasted garlic, preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cloves are soft and beginning to caramelise. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Squeeze the cloves into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the pesto and the ricotta, and mix well to combine. Set aside.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
To make one large knot:
Line a 9" cake tin, springform pan or skillet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough out into a 16" x 24" (40 x 60cm) rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the filling mixture over the surface of the dough. Starting with a long side, roll up the dough into a tight sausage. Trim the ends slightly to neaten if needed. Using a sharp knife, cut the sausage of dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small section approximately 1 1/2 inches long intact at one end. Turn the halves carefully so the filling is exposed. Cross the dough halves over each other, then repeat the process until you have a long, twisted piece of dough.
Cross one end of the twist over the other, and tuck the ends under, forming a knot. Gently shape into a round if needed (I found it easiest to practice with a rolled up tea towel at first). Transfer to your prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 30-40 minutes. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c.
Brush the dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with pretzel salt or flaky sea salt. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and baked throughout. Tent with foil in the last 10 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To make mini knots:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into an 8" x 20" (20 x 50cm) rectangle. Spread with a quarter of the filling, and roll up from the long side into a tight sausage. Cut the sausage into two equal length pieces.
Working with one piece of the sausage at a time, cut lengthways down it using a sharp knife, leaving 1/2" intact at one end. Cross the pieces over each other to make a twist, then brush the ends lightly with water and press together to make a circle / wreath shape. Repeat with the second sausage of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 8 small knots. Space evenly on the baking sheet, lightly cover in plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes or until risen and puffy. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c.
Brush the dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with pretzel salt or flaky sea salt. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and baked throughout. Tent with foil in the last 10 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.