On a cool, rainy holiday when Toby is out working on the cabin and the garden weeds will wait until the sun comes up, baking bread is at its best. And when there’s an abundance of basil in the garden, that’s the time to make Genovese Basil Bread.

This recipe is made in a similar fashion to french bread, so you’ll roll out the dough with a rolling pin and then roll each piece up jelly-roll style.

The recipe makes four small baguette-type loaves, so if you’ve got a hungry clan, you’ll want to make several batches!

Genovese Basil Bread

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package dry yeast
1 cup very warm water (105-115 degres F)
2.5 to 3 cups bread flour, plus a bit more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a heavy, large skillet (I love my cast iron skillets!) over low to medium heat. Add basil and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Dissolve the yeast in water in a small bowl. Let it stand for ten minutes.

Mound 2.5 cups of flour onto your work surface or in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer); make a well in the center. Add the dissolved yeast, basil mixture, salt and pepper to the well. Mix the ingredients that are in the well, and then incorporate the flour. Knead on a lightly floured surface until it’s firm and elastic, adding a bit more flour if it’s sticky, for several minutes (on 4 on your KitchenAid stand mixer for 10 minutes).

Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil, and then cover it to let it rise until it’s doubled, about 45 minutes, depending on the warmth in the rising space.

Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the dough. Knead it on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth, about three minutes. Cut the dough into four pieces (or two pieces, for a longer loaf) and then roll one out on a lightly-floured surface to an 8 x 5 1/2″ rectangle (longer if you’re making two loaves instead of four).

Roll it up jelly-roll style, starting at one long end. Transfer to the greased baking sheet, seam side down, then do the rest of the pieces the same way. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes, until the pieces are doubled.

While they’re rising, preheat your oven to 450 degrees farenheit.

P7040285 2When the rolls have risen, slash them from one end to the other with a serrated knife and a confident hand. Bake them for about 30 minutes, or until they’re golden in color and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of a roll.

P7040283 2Voila!

And a finished product! Yes! Delicious with REAL butter!

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