I never thought this blog would get as big as it has gotten. Okay, it's not like a massive huge blog, but still - I have companies that sent me things for free so I can feature them in my posts or instagram, people say I inspire them with my photos, I have over 28,000 instagram followers (?!?!) and it's all so crazy. This is just my hobby, just a fun thing I do on the weekends. How can 28,000 people want to see photos of the random shit I make at home? It's still so surreal to me.
And what's even crazier is that somebody thinks it's worth it to fly me from Vancouver, BC to New York City and put me up in a hotel for a couple nights just so I can give a little talk about food styling, photography, and baking… WHAT. SERIOUSLY, WHAT?!
This is one of the craziest things that I have ever heard. Like…I'm just some random pastry cook that makes stuff sometimes. And yet I'm being flown across the continent to talk to people about what I do????? I'm totally awe-struck and so grateful/excited/nervous/mind-blown/terrified/euphoric about this whole thing.
So I should probably give you guys some details about when/where/what is going on. First off, it's at 7pm on May 25th (Wednesday) at 837 Washington Street in NYC, in the Meatpacking District. This event is sponsored by Samsung and hosted by Feedfeed, with myself and four other bloggers/food photographers taking part (Nik, Jessica, Amanda, and Tieghan). The event is totally FREE and you can click here to RVSP for the event.
There's a Q&A after the event, so if you've ever wanted to ask me why I'm such a dork, now is the time to do it!! Seriously though, someone should come in with some awesome and ridiculous questions, just to mess with us. For shits and giggles. Like, "If you were invisible for one hour, what is the first thing you'd do?" because I already have an answer for that one. And I hope no one is offended by swearing because I don't know if I can censor myself when I get excited/nervous.
Can you believe people are paying for me to talk to people in public? This will probably be the first and last time, judging by my level of maturity and what I think "appropriate questions" are.
Anyways, if my barely coherent rambling hasn't convinced you to come to this amazing event, then I don't know what to tell you. You can come just to laugh at me rambling in person, I guess.
Braided Pesto Bread
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
364 g all-purpose flour
4 g instant dried yeast
21 g granulated sugar
7 g salt
190 g water
23 g eggs
16 g unsalted butter
52 g whole milk
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
About 28 g (3 cups) loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted OR 1 tablespoon almond meal, toasted
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the pain-au-lait, spray a large loaf pan and a large bowl with nonstick spray.
Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and give it a quick mix on the lowest setting to distribute the yeast evenly. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Combine the basil, pine nuts/almond meal, garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add the oil as it's going until combined. Add the Parmesan and pulse a few times to mix, then season with salt to taste. Transfer the pesto to a small container and keep tightly covered and refrigerated until needed.
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Using a bowl scraper, release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Pat the dough down, then stretch the top portion of the dough up and over to the bottom portion. Stretch the right portion to the left portion, then the bottom to the top, and the left to the right to create a neat "package" of dough. Place it seam-side down in the prepared bowl. Cover and set aside.
Use the bowl scraper to release the dough ands turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape, removing any large air bubbles and adding flour only as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the board.
Roll out the dough to roughly 10 by 15 inches. Smear about half the pesto onto the dough, making sure to leave a strip at the bottom long edge of the dough bare. Brush this bare strip with a small amount of water. Starting from the long side away from you, roll up the dough tightly. Using a large sharp knife, cut the log of dough in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch of dough uncut at the top. "Braid" the two halves of dough together by simply putting one half over the other, then again and again. Pinch the ends together and gently transfer the loaf to the loaf pan.
Loosely cover the loaf with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, humid place to proof (but not over 24 C). Let it proof for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the loaf has almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Gently brush the loaf with egg wash, being careful to not drag the pesto onto the rest of the bread. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Place the loaf pan on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 10 minutes, until the loaf is a dark golden brown on the top. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.