2teaspoonsactive dry or instant yeast (about 8 grams)
¼cupwarm water(40-45°C/104-113°F - see note 1)
2 ½cupshigh grade/bread flour
½cupwarm milk(warm to the touch)
¼cupparmesan cheese(for sprinkling on top)
In a large bowl (the bowl for your stand mixer if using) add the yeast, sugar and warm water and whisk gently to combine. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is foamy.
Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead using a stand mixer with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, or by hand for 7 minutes, or until the dough forms a soft ball that springs back when lightly pressed. You should be able to handle the dough without it being too sticky, so add slightly more flour if you need.
Transfer into a large clean bowl and cover in glad wrap or a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 40-50 minutes or until almost doubled in size (see note 2)
Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out into a rectangle that is approximately 45cm x 25cm (17.5" x 10").
Spread the pesto evenly over the dough and sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over top, leaving a small gap at one of the long ends (so that it will stick together when rolled)
With the longest edge close to you, tightly roll the dough up into a roll, pinching the end slightly to seal the roll.
Shaping the loaf
Spray the loaf tin with cooking spray or line it with baking paper. Starting 2cm from one end, use a sharp knife to slice the roll in half lengthways, right down the centre. Gently rotate each half of the roll so that the open side is facing upwards.
Twist the two pieces together, trying to keep the open side facing up as much as possible. When you get to the end, pinch the ends together and push the loaf together to make it fit the loaf tin. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Cover the roll with the same tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise again for 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
While the bread is rising, heat the oven to 180°C and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on top and starting to brown up on the bottom of the loaf. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
If you are not eating the bread immediately, cover and store at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to serve. Warm the bread in the oven when you are ready to eat. You can also freeze the bread on the day of baking in a large snaplock bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then heat in the oven (180°C/350°F for around 10 minutes or until warmed all the way through) before and serving.
1. If you don't have a thermometer, you want to use tap water that is quite warm to the touch - warmer than lukewarm but less than hot!2. If the weather is warm I leave the by a sunny window to rise, if it's cooler you can put it in your hot water cupboard or heat your oven to the lowest setting, turn it off and leave the dough in there to rise.