Braided Pesto Bread

by Shawnda on July 18, 2012

in Appetizers,Bread

Braided Pesto Bread Wreath

Fresh bread? 10-minute pesto using a bunch of basil from the garden? Let’s be totally honest, there’s zero chance that something like this ever lasts more than 24 hours here.

Fresh Basil Pesto

The basil in the garden is really, really thriving. And so are the weeds. 12 days of rain out of the last 15 makes everything but the water in the pool happy. Just as the last big storm rolled in the other night, I ran out to the garden and ripped out one of the larger plants to whip up a quick batch of pesto.

And I almost made it back inside before the bottom fell out of the sky. Almost.

Fresh Basil Pesto

I used my favorite recipe for quick french bread and paired it with the last of the pesto. And following the folding technique I found here, I formed the bread into a twisted, braided wreath and then popped it into the oven.

All while praying that the bread didn’t come out looking too much like lady parts. Because sometimes that happens.

Braided Pesto Bread

A note – I was out of parchment paper and should have formed the wreath on the cornmeal-dusted pan that I was baking with… but as you can see from the photos below, I didn’t. Moving it was a total pain and cost me $5 in the swear jar. So don’t do that.

Braided Pesto Bread

A beautiful, twisty wreath of bread made with fresh basil pesto from the garden.

Ingredients

  • For the bread:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the loaf:
  • ~1/2 cup pesto, purchased or homemade
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. Place warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle yeast over top.
  2. Let sit 10 minutes - if the yeast doesn't get frothy or swell, toss it and go buy new yeast.
  3. Add the flour, oil, and salt and turn the mixer to low.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic - after about 2 minutes, the dough should completely clean the bottom and sides of the bowl. If it does not, add additional flour, one spoonful at a time until it does.
  5. Form the dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl (I just use the mixer bowl) and let rise until doubled (~1 hour on the countertop, quicker in a slightly warmed oven).
  6. Preheat oven to 425.
  7. Lightly flour your work surface.
  8. Gently stretch and elongate your dough round.
  9. Braided Pesto Bread Wreath
  10. Roll into a rectangle ~18x12 inches.
  11. Spoon pesto over top, spreading evenly, leaving a clean 1/2-inch border around the edges.
  12. Braided Pesto Bread Wreath
  13. Roll the long side of the dough to you and pinch the seam closed.
  14. Braided Pesto Bread Wreath
  15. Transfer to your parchment-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.
  16. Cut the dough in half down the length of the dough and pinch the top ends together.
  17. Working quickly, braid the two pieces, trying to keep the pieces twisted so the cut ends remain on top (this is what makes the bread pretty).
  18. Braided Pesto Bread Wreath
  19. When you get to the bottom, pinch the ends together and wrap into a wreath.
  20. Braided Pesto Bread Wreath
  21. Transfer to your baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes.
  22. Top with shredded parmesan and bake for ~25 minutes, until golden brown.
  23. Let cool slightly and slice to serve.

Notes

Yields: 1 loaf, ~12 slices

Inspired by Just Love Cookin'

Estimated time: 3 hours

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina {My Life as a Mrs} July 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

oh. my. heavens. I need this bread… like YESTERDAY!!!!

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2 Emily @ She Makes and Bakes July 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Stunning. I love making fresh bread and pesto. This will be happening in my house stat.

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3 Erin July 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Oh my goodness this is so pretty!

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4 Danielle C July 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

That looks incredible!!! I so wish I had a garden full of basil because I would be out there right now picking it. This will surely be made at some point this summer. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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5 Adeline July 19, 2012 at 3:43 am

Danielle get one of those kit to grow it indoors if you have a window well exposed to the sun it’ll grow well :)

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6 Kristy July 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm

This looks ridiculously delicious and is ridiculously beautiful. And I almost died when I read, “All while praying that the bread didn’t come out looking too much like lady parts. Because sometimes that happens.” ALMOST DIED.

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7 Heather E July 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

So beautiful! Can’t wait to make this! :)

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8 Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

This is absolutely beautiful!!! I bet it tastes even better than it looks, too!

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9 Tracey July 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

This is stunning! Really makes me wish I grew some basil this year. I’ll just have to raid a friend’s garden soon :)

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10 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction July 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

This is gorgeous! I need to make this soon!

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11 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel July 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Taunting a carboholic with bread is evil but I totally love this.

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12 Jenna@LittleKitchenBigFlavors July 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm

This looks awesome! And, pesto makes all carbs taste better! This would be such a great appetizer to bring to a party, and let everyone pick apart their own section of the bread. Definately keeping this recipe handy.

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13 Angela @ The Dancer Bakes July 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I am sitting here drooling over this…and I’m now desperate to use the rest of the pesto in the fridge to make this…

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14 Cupcake and Talk July 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I am hugely impressed by your work. The bread looks amazing.

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15 Ann P. July 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

WOWWW… I would eat this entire loaf for dinner!! Gorgeous, and with all the flavors i love!

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16 Kelsey July 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Oh Shawnda, this is the most beautiful bread I think I’ve ever seen. Wow!

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17 Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen July 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hahaha at the lady parts remark. Quite on the contrary actually – I think this bread turned out gorgeous! It’s almost too pretty to eat!

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18 Joanne July 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I’m going to a bbq at my parents this weekend and I’m SO making this to bring! It’s gonna be such a hit.

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19 Lyzz July 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Why did you do this?! I’m staying away from carbs because we’re going to the beach in a month…guess that’s not gonna happen. I’m making this tomorrow!!

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20 Nikki July 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Ahhh!! Gorgeous!!

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21 Angela @ My Golden Pear July 19, 2012 at 4:47 am

I have never had much success with bread but this makes me want to try just once more. Fingers crossed!!

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22 Katrina July 19, 2012 at 4:50 am

Oh boy…this looks so yummy!!

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23 Aimee {The Girl with the Wooden Spoon} July 19, 2012 at 5:56 am

Holy yum, that looks good!

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24 Ali @ Gimme Some Oven July 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

This is stunning!!!! Love the idea of pesto bread, and that braiding is absolutely gorgeous!!!

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25 Katherine @ Whitehall Shop July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

Oh my goodness! That would be gone in a second in this house. It is almost too pretty to eat… almost. You never cease to amaze me! I will be trying this out this week.

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26 Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat. July 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

I can’t get over how beautiful this is. No lady parts in sight!

We’re having the opposite problem in Ohio. Hardly any rain at all makes for sad, shriveled basil plants. The weeds still seem to be thriving though. Darn those hardy things!

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27 Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat. July 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

I can’t get over how gorgeous this is. No lady parts in sight! And since I’m putting pesto on pretty much every slice of bread, pizza, or sandwich I make I might as well just bake it right in!

We’re having the opposite problem in Ohio. Hardly any rain at all makes for sad, shriveled basil plants. The weeds still seem to be thriving though. Darn those hardy things!

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28 Jill July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am

looks awesome and combines two of my favorite things – homemade bread and pesto. can’t wait to try!!

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29 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker July 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

Gorgeous, gorgeous bread! I have basil coming out of my ears; this will be a great way to put some pesto to good use! Also, LOL at “lady parts”! Ha!

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30 Krista July 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Are you using a dry yeast package or one of those blocks of yeast that are in the dairy section? I’ve never made bread before, but I have a ridiculous amount of basil coming in from the garden on a daily basis and have a TON of pesto already made and frozen and this bread looks AMAZING!

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31 foodiebride July 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I use Red Star from a jar, but it’s the same stuff in the package (only more cost-efficient).

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32 Sarah July 20, 2012 at 12:45 am

This. looks. dangerously. tasty. Nom nom nom.

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33 imjacobsmom July 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I can’t wait to try this ~ I am simply drooling!

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34 ButterYum July 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

What a wonderfully beautiful bread – and so yummy too! Awesome photos.

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35 Suzanne July 21, 2012 at 5:49 am

This is stunnung! I’m always looking for ways to use up pesto when my basil plants are in full swing.

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36 HeidiS July 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

Holy Guacamole, does this look divine!!!! So divine, I’m headed to the grocery store to buy the stuff to make this…seriously.
On behalf of the rest of hte world, thank you for sharing this! ;-)

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37 Sarah July 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

This is gorgeous!

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38 Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche July 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm

This is gorgeous! :)

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39 Winnie July 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I LOVE pesto and I think this braided bread look beautiful!

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40 Nika July 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I laughed out loud not once, but TWICE while reading this entry. Let it be known, that never happens. My husband was sitting next to me and jumped every time a chuckle burst out. Also, this looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it!

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41 sami July 23, 2012 at 5:18 am

I tried this Saturday and it although it looked nice, it was not even close to the beauty of your loaf. Guess it takes practice.

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42 tova July 23, 2012 at 6:22 am

Can this dough be prepared in a bread maker…It looks so delicious. I am going to pair it with pasta w/ olive oil and garlic…

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43 foodiebride July 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

Sure! Just make sure it gets the proper rising time.

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44 Brandi July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

This is on its 2nd rise waiting to go into the oven right now. While I have basil coming out my ears, I had no olive oil or nuts to make pesto, however I did already have some store bought Sundried tomato pesto and Sundried tomatoes in my fridge. So I used the oil from the Sundried tomatoes for the olive oil in the bread itself and my Sundried tomato pesto for the filling. Then added some chopped basil from the garden and Parmesan to the filling before I rolled it up! I’m having it with lasagna, salad & pasta fagioli for an Italian Themed at home dinner date with the hubs tonight. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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45 foodiebride July 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Sounds like a fabulous twist!

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46 Anna @ hiddenponies July 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

This sounds like perfection. And there are so many toppings I`d like to try – great recipe!

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47 Chelsea August 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I made this with store-bought pesto, and it was amazing! And such a show-stopper. My boyfriend and I devoured the whole loaf in two sittings. Well, one sitting if you count the fact that they were within an hour of each other. Whatever. I’m currently making a cinnamon sugar version, and I can’t wait to invent more fillings! Great recipe, thanks!

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48 Jody August 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

made this with your pesto recipe. I had a minor freak out moment when it seemed like my dough wasn’t rising.
however, it turned out really well! crunch crust and airy/soft inside.

thanks!

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49 Kendall Jones September 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I loved this!! I posted about it on my blog: http://kendallandkeith.blogspot.com/2012/09/braided-pesto-bread.html

Thanks for an awesome recipe! Heck, all of your recipes are good :) Love your blog!!

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50 Sara September 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for the inspiration. Tried this out yesterday with homemade sun dried tomato pesto (and admittedly a refrigerated French loaf dough). I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the real thing, but I have to admit it still felt so special. Thanks for the post!

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51 Raquel October 29, 2012 at 5:21 am

I love your blog!
Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!!
I just tried it 2 days ago when I had friends over! We all loved it, it turned out great and it looks so impressive!! Obviously it was all over before dinner!!
I can’t wait to try it again and perfect my braiding skills! Like many others before me… I will try different fillings!!

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52 Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles December 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Oooh I think I’m going to try this for Christmas! Maybe I’ll add sun dried tomatoes for more Christmas festivity. I’m also thinking of doing a sweet bread version with cranberries and pistachios? Oh the possibilities….

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53 GK March 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

Okay. This is not just good. Just made it and it is phenomenal. Having serious trouble with sharing this tear and share beauty! Used shop bought pesto as had a jar lying in fridge. Thank you! Xx

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54 Becky June 22, 2013 at 7:04 am

Hi, i made this with my friend agess ago (http://www.mrsellwood.co.uk/2012/09/pesto-bread-wreath-and-special-guest.html?m=0) and it came out so good! I’ve taken food as one of my GCSE’s and i get to make 6-8 products and i really want to make this, but i’m worried it’ll take too long. I have to try and squeeze it into 2 hours – do you think i could do it? Or should i just pick a different recipe? Thanks Becky x

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55 Ramona June 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

Really loving this recipe, will be baking it many more times to come I suspect! Thanks for putting it up :)

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56 Maria August 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

This is one THE best yeast dough recipes I have ever made! The result is beautiful to look at, impressive to present, and tastes crunchy on the outside with an airy light and fluffy inside. The flavour of fresh pesto is infused throughout. The only thing you want to do with the bread is keep eating it, which is not such a good thing. Love it! This is going to be a family favourite and the secret is: it is so easy to make.

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57 Sophia September 23, 2013 at 10:23 am

Do you think you could substitute the warm water for passata to recreate the classic tomato/ basil combo in bread form??

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58 Shawnda September 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Not wholly – you need to proof the yeast with water. But it could be worth a try to replace some of the remainder of the water with the passata.

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59 Liana January 9, 2014 at 12:08 am

I have one word for you ladies- Bacon! Mine is doing its last rise and looks amazing- didn’t do a ring – coiled it into a snail (with bacon :) and put in an oil sprayed pottery baking dish so it doesn’t stick. For my pesto Threw some HOT Portuguese (sweet) peanuts in with cashews and pine nuts + extra garlic, rice bran oil – lighter taste) + EVOO = the best pesto I’ve ever made/eaten. White and black seasame seeds on top & looks amazing – thank you! Never thought of cutting a coil or plait to get that great look! I want to try it w light cream cheese and best tomatoes , loads of
Pepper w pink sea salt

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60 tom August 3, 2014 at 10:10 pm

How much does your “2½ cups of flour” weigh? I find that your recipe yields around a 75% hydration loaf which was way too wet for me to shape. I didn’t even bother cutting it in half to braid because it was very flat at that point.

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61 Shawnda August 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm

11.25oz. I use the 4.5oz=1 cup measurement from… either King Arthur Flour or ATK.

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62 Kate braunizer August 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Made 3 loaves of your pesto braided bread as had glut of basil in the garden which made into pesto.

The first loaf was devoured within hours of going in the oven so just made two more loaves to put int he freezer. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

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