This cheesy pesto bread tastes like summer! It’s made with an easy homemade pesto, and I pinky promise it’s easier to braid this loaf than you’d think!
For the dough:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 (¼ oz) packet instant yeast
- ⅔ cups whole milk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
For the pesto:
- 2 cups basil, (packed)
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cups pine nuts, (toasted)
- ¼ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan, (grated)
- 1 egg, whisked
To make the dough:
- Add the flour and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with hook attachment and mix on low speed until blended. Add all remaining dough ingredients, then mix on low speed for 30 minutes. Check after a few minutes to make sure all ingredients have been incorporated. If not, stop mixer, scrape down sides, then continue mixing. Meanwhile, make the pesto.
To make the pesto:
- Place garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor with blade attached. Pulse until finely chopped. Add basil and pulse until well blended.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a smooth sauce forms. Stir in Parmesan and set aside.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pushing down on the down to release any bubbles. Gently pull the top of the dough down onto the bottom. Next, pull the right side of the dough over towards the left side. Pull the bottom of the dough up over to the top. Finally, stretch the left side of the dough over towards the right.
- Turn the dough over so the seams are underneath. Smooth out the dough into a round ball, then transfer to a bowl sprayed with nonstick oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out into a roughly 16″ x 10″ rectangle. Spread the pesto into a thin layer across the dough, leaving only a ½” border along the bottom.
- Dip your finger in water, then run it along the bottom exposed part of the dough. Roll the rectangle from top to bottom lengthwise.
- Leaving about 1-2″ in tact at the top, take a sharp knife and cut the dough in half lengthwise. Turn the dough cut side up, then twist to form a braided pattern. Place rolled dough into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. If the dough is too large, tuck the ends underneath. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 – 2 ½ hours.
- When ready, preheat oven to 375 F. Brush loaf with egg wash. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until dough is browned and slightly crispy on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 241
- Sugar: 1.6g
- Sodium: 341mg
- Fat: 12.2g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3g
- Carbohydrates: 26.5g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Protein: 7.3g
- Cholesterol: 28mg
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