Pesto made easy

Over the weekend I was called upon to bake some bread for a luncheon. I decided to make my favorite 'Pesto Flat Bread'. It's very easy and oh so yummy! Flat breads are generally faster to prepare since that need less rise time, less kneading, and bake in 10-20 minutes at most. Thus, I use them a lot when I am asked to bake bread for a function and I am pressed for time. Here is the recipe for the Flat bread, and the pesto to top it with.

You can always buy a commercial pesto from the refrigerator section of your grocery store, but I highly recommend you try to make some yourself. The following recipe makes a large batch that I section into 2oz. containers and freeze it until I need it. Since pesto is very rich, and highly flavorful you only need a little at a time. 2oz. will season enough pasta for my whole family!

Flat Bread
5 cups of bread or all purpose flour
2 cups of warm water (about 100-105F)
2 Tbs. yeast
1 Tbs. Kosher salt (table salt is OK too)
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Place everything into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment in place, or in a very large bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes until a tight shiny ball of dough is formed. You may need to adjust the flour or water a bit depending on the texture of the dough, so keep an eye on it.

liberally oil a sheet pan. Shape the dough into a ball, lightly coat with oil or pan spray. Cover the dough loosely with plastic to prevent it from drying out, and allow it to rise on the center of the pan for 60-90 minutes. once the dough has doubled in size, spread it out flat over your sheet pan and recover with plastic wrap. Turn the over on to 400F. Rise the flat bread for 20 minutes more. Cover with your topping of choice, and bake 12-15 minutes until the bread is a light golden brown. cool and serve fresh.
two flat breads a lovely "before and after" baking picture
1 cup of packed fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan reggiano cheese
2 cloves of crush garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbs.)
Place everything in the blender or food processor. Pulse the machine on a off a few times until you get a paste like consistency but not a smooth puree. Section into two ounce portions and freeze until you need it.

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