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Braided Pesto Bread

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  • Prep 2 hr 40 min
  • Total 3 hr 10 min
  • Servings 2
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A fluffy, savory braided loaf with an olive oily swirl of pesto. From The Knead for Bread blog.
by: Girl vs Dough
Updated Apr 10, 2017
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  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2/3 cup pesto (for filling)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (for filling/top)


  • 1
    In a large bowl, combine water, olive oil, sugar, skim milk powder, salt and instant yeast. Mix until well blended. Add in a cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add in another cup of flour and beat until smooth.
  • 2
    Sprinkle half a cup of flour onto a flat surface and pour out the dough onto the counter. Knead and slowly add in more flour until the dough no longer sticks to the table, about 8-10 minutes. Add a little olive oil to a large bowl (about 1 tbsp). Pour dough into the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • 3
    Pour out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half. Using your fingers, flatten out one of the pieces. Roll out to a 9 x 14 rectangle. Spread half the pesto and 1/4 of a cup Parmesan on top. Bring in the side by a half inch and then roll the dough like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam closed. Take a sharp knife and cut down the center length wise.
  • 4
    Open the jelly roll exposing the inside of the roll.Take the two cut pieces and braid them together with the cut side always facing up.
  • 5
    Place the braided bread into a greased 8x4-inch loaf pan. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Cover both loaves with plastic wrap or a tea towel and rest for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • 6
    Sprinkle the tops with the remaining Parmesan cheese and place into a preheated 375°F oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Check the bread about 10 minutes before it's finished -- if it's getting too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing or serving.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • When I first set out to make my first "braided" loaf (quotations to be explained below) on my blog, it sounded a little complicated. Braid a loaf? Really? Is that even possible? Well, yes and no. Yes, it is possible -- if you stretch the truth a bit. This Braided Pesto Bread isn't really braided -- as in, you don't take three separate pieces of bread and literally braid them together. It's more of a twisting of two pieces of dough. To be sure, it's a messy, tricky process, but it's not impossible. You just need to be ready to get your hands -- and your counter -- a little dirty. This bread is delicious not only because of the thread of aromatic pesto and olive oil in the middle of the loaf, but because the oil makes it such a fluffy, airy loaf. The salty, melted Parmesan cheese on top doesn't hurt, either. And the "braiding" that's not really braiding makes for a visually appealing loaf, as well. Serve this bread on its own, as the bread for a savory sandwich or sidled up against a warm cup of soup. It'll be the best "braided" bread you've ever tried. And once you've made this braided loaf, you'll be ready to try all sorts of braided breads -- like this Cinnamon Sugar Braided Loaf, a sweeter take on the braid.
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