If you’re lucky, there should still be some wild garlic available for picking where you are. It tastes delicious in leaf salads, but I like to preserve it in a pesto so that you can have it all year round. Just store the pesto in a jar and make sure it’s sealed with a layer of oil and keep it in the fridge. It’ll last for months without spoiling. Then when you’ve made your pesto you can use it to make this wild garlic milk bread.
I’ve tried lots of different recipes to make wild garlic pesto and I’ve now come up with my ultimate recipe to make a great pesto with a lovely consistency and a great wild garlic flavour. The first time I made this I used a really strong extra virgin olive oil as I thought that would be the best for a recipe like this.
It really isn’t though, the olive oil was so strong, it really overpowered everything else in the pesto. So I recommend using a light olive oil to make this. It gives a great consistency, but doesn’t alter the flavour and it’s a bit cheaper too. Which is great because Parmesan and pine nuts aren’t!
Here is my recipe for wild garlic pesto, it’s so easy and the recipe can be scaled up successfully, doubling/tripling the quantities where necessary.
- 135g Wild Garlic, washed
- 60g Parmesan, grated
- 50g Pine nuts
- 150ml Light Olive Oil
- ½ Tsp Table Salt
- Place everything in a food processor and blitz until it forms a loose paste/pesto.
- The pesto is ready to be placed in sterlised jars. It can be stored in the fridge, just make sure the top of the pesto is covered in oil to help preserve it, if storing out of the fridge.
- This recipe can be easily doubled if you have more wild garlic to use.
You can use the pesto in so many things, obviously pasta, but it’s great with grilled meat, or a coating for fish mixed with some breadcrumbs, as well as stirring a spoonful into a bolognese.
I have used the pesto to make a wild garlic pesto milk bread that is made using the tangzhong method. Prior to making this, I’d heard of tangzhong, but not experimented with it, or truly found out what it involved.
Tangzhong is an Asian method of bread-making where a roux of water and flour is cooked together gently and then left to cool, before adding to a dough. The concept of mixing flour and water and then adding it to dough at a later date is often used to really help with the flavour and texture of your bread, from sourdough to creating a poolish to add to your bread dough.
This bread is the lightest, fluffiest bread I’ve ever made and that is down to the Tangzhong and the milk in the bread, probably the most famous use of Tangzhong is in Hokkaido Milk Bread. This would be a great bread method to use for making something like iced buns or other sweet bakes.
- 20g Strong White Bread Flour
- 100ml Water
- 350g Strong White Bread Flour
- 7g Fast Action Yeast
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 20g Caster Sugar
- 1 Medium Egg
- 120ml Skimmed Milk
- 30g Softened Butter
- 1 Egg for glazing
- Wild Garlic Pesto
- Whisk the flour and water together in a small saucepan until smooth. Place over a medium/low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to a paste that is gloopy.
- Scrape it into a bowl, cover with clingfilm directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool to room temperature.
- To make the dough, place the flour in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast, salt, and sugar and stir gently to combine.
- Whisk together the cooled tangzhong, egg and milk in jug and add it to the dry ingredients.
- Mix everything together (on speed 2 if using a kitchenaid) for 5 minutes until it forms a smooth dough.
- Add the butter and mix until it is fully incorporated, this takes around 12 minutes using speed 4 on a kitchenaid. Keep going until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl,
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1-2 hours until well doubled in size. Alternatively, place it in the fridge to rise overnight. If you refrigerate it, the following day let it come up to room temperature for about half an hour before continuing.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down and fold it in on itself a couple of times. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to around 25cm by 40cm.
- Spread pesto all over the dough,use as much or as little as you like, the flavour can be subtle after baking, so I would use plenty, leave a strip at the bottom long edge of the dough which is bare. Brush this bare strip with a small amount of water. Starting from the long side away from you, roll up the dough tightly to make one giant log. 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 oiled cling-film and leave in a warm, humid place to prove (but not over 24 C). Let it prove for 2½ to 3 hours, until the loaf has almost doubled in size.
- If you press the dough gently with a finger the indentation should spring back slowly but remain visible. If it springs back quickly it needs to prove for a little longer. Preheat the oven while the dough is rising to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Brush the top of the dough with some of the beaten egg, be sure not to drag the pesto or ruin the braiding.
- Bake on the lower middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes until well risen and the top of the bread has gone golden. The internal temperature should reach 94C on a probe thermometer. Cover the bread with foil partway through baking if it starts to get too dark.
- Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.
Do you have any ideas of other ways to use wild garlic pesto? Have you made your own milk bread before? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.