Intimidated by sour dough bread? Don’t be. It’s simple. You don’t have to make a round artisan loaf of dark, crusty, chewy bread filled with air pockets, baked in 500° wood fired oven to make sour dough bread. Let’s make a simple loaf of sour dough pesto bread that will impress everyone who tastes it.

How strong do you feel today? How about a forearm workout? How about a loaf of sour dough pesto bread? You can spend up to 20 minutes kneading the dough for this bread. Or, if you’d like to use your Kitchen Aid or similar mixer, that’s good, too. It needs eight or nine minutes in a mixer set on low. If I’m short on time or just plain don’t want to knead for 15 or 20 minutes I use my Kitchen Aid.

Sour dough pesto bread is one of my favorites. It makes an excellent grilled cheese sandwich, and the added flavor of the pesto perks up a fried egg on toast for breakfast.

sour dough pesto bread, dough before rising
sour dough pesto bread risen
sour dough pesto bread baked

Sour Dough Pesto Bread

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon molasses or honey
2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup pesto

Put all off the ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl, mix together, and then knead. If the dough feels more wet than tacky you’ll knead in the last half-cup of four a little at a time.

Lightly coat a bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl to rise. It doesn’t need to double in size. When it starts to look lighter and higher, it’s risen enough. This will take 50 to 60 minutes depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Do you need a recipe for sour dough starter?

On a non-stick or lightly olive oiled surface, gently push down the dough by forming it into a loaf. Gently. If you’ve heard “punch down the dough,” forget that saying. You aren’t kneading now, just forming. Place the loaf into an oiled bread pan and let rise until it’s an inch or two over the edge of the pan.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. As difficult as it is to not immediately slice into a hot loaf of bread, it’s better if you don’t. Let the loaf cool and keep the moisture trapped inside the crust. Or at least think about how much you should have done that while you enjoy the first slice. Sour dough pesto bread is great with butter, garlic, or even plain. Enjoy!