I've been seriously craving some homemade bread lately and when I saw a post the other day for pull apart bread stuffed with herbs and cheese at A Little Bit of Everything. I knew I had to try it, but I was feeling like sourdough not regular bread dough. I grew up eating sourdough bread and I've tried it before and it was okay, this way came out much better I think.
I didn't have any sourdough starter, so I decided to find a recipe for some and see how things went. I consulted one of my old friends, the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 cups warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
Combine everything in a bowl, beat it till smooth. Cover bowl with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 5-10 days or till mixture has a fermented aroma, stirring 2 or 3 times a day.
I stored it in the fridge in a jar covered with cheesecloth after day 10.
Feeding the starter: Feed after each use or if not used in 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon sugar. Repeat every 10 days. Feed with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon sugar.
After 10 days I made some sourdough bread dough and from there we made our pull apart loaf. Yes it does smell sour, but don't be alarmed. Also there may be a liquid that forms on top, that is normal, just stir, as long as the liquid isn't brown.
1 cup sourdough starter
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups water
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Bring sourdough starter to room temperature. Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and yeast. Heat water, sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon salt to 120-130 degrees. Add to flour mixture. Add sourdough starter. Add to mixer with dough hook. Or mix by hand. Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the baking soda. Stir till combined. Add to mixer and mix till combined. Knead for 5 minutes in mixer. Place into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise till doubled (about 1 hour). My friend Rita from Sage Cuisine had a great tip for proofing bread go check it out here.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in 1/2, then cut 1 of the halves into 12 pieces.
Roll each piece into a circle about 6" and fill with a teaspoon or so of pesto and sprinkle with cheese. I used an Italian Cheese blend, but it's up to you.
I filled my pieces with an alternating combination of tomato and basil pesto. I was trying to represent for the Red, White and Green! Plus I just really love those flavors.
Folded each circle in half and seal with a fork. Place each piece in a buttered 9"x4" loaf pan.
Cover the loaf with a clean dish towel and let it rise about 45 minutes. Brush the top with an egg wash (1 egg and 2 tsp. water). I love to sprinkle a bit of coarse salt on top of the loaf at this point.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Pull it apart and enjoy each piece. Can't you just smell it? Since this recipe made so much dough I had a little fun and made something else with it. You can make two loaves or bake one plain, or even cut this recipe in half if you want. I'm calling it my have-a-heart pull-apart! Figured I'd spread a little love and get you in the mood for Valentine's Day!
My heart has a surprise in the middle too!
Thanks for all your sweet comments on my post earlier in the week. My point wasn't about what is right or wrong, just make sure and do what is right for you. I believe they call it marching to the beat of your own drum.
A couple other versions you might like: