This pesto bread is beautiful, rich, and full of pesto flavor. It has a crunchy crust and a pillowy soft center, with ribbons of pesto running throughout. Serve it alongside your next dinner (sopping up the last of a pasta sauce comes to mind), save it for sandwiches, or eat it warm out of the oven; this is a bread that can stand on its own or complement a meal.
My kids begged for slices as soon as the loaf was cool enough to slice and serve, and it didn’t last past day two before every slice was gobbled up. Now that we’re in summer vacation mode and, at least on days we’re all home, I feel like a diner line cook that never leaves the kitchen, it was nice to have an easy snack to shove in their faces when hunger pangs struck. Plus my youngest loves to help knead dough, so she is all for any bread-baking project.
I love a good loaf of homemade bread, and this one looks as good as it tastes. Pesto is one of those things that I can have with just about any meal. I like it with my breakfast crepes, spread on a sandwich, with pasta, all of it. So I thought why not add it to a braided loaf of bread that’s rich with butter, milk, and eggs? I used the dough from this recipe from my grandmother’s Anniversary Slovak-American Cookbook and replaced the poppyseed filling with pesto. The salty, savory pesto cuts through the rich dough perfectly, for a slice of bread with just the right amount of bite.
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup pesto, store bought or homemade
- Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl, then add the sugar, yeast, and butter.
- Add in the eggs and salt and stir. Add in the flour and stir to combine. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until it is smooth and elastic, three to five minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 12” by 18”. Cut the dough into three equal parts, cutting the length of the shorter side.
- Spread pesto on each part, leaving a small margin on each side. Roll tightly, beginning with the longest side.
- Braid the rolls loosely together, then place them carefully into a greased bread pan. Allow to rise until doubled in size again, about an hour.
- When getting ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.