This is the prettiest bread, which is actually relatively simple to make! The dough is a basic soft bread that falls between egg and brioche bread that is sweetened with honey. In between the layers of this buttery bread is savory herbed pesto. When baked, the layers fall apart to show the gorgeous green pesto!
This is a great way to use up all of the overflowing basil in your garden. My favorite way to use excess herbs in my garden is by creating a flavorful bread. Whether it's basil, oregano, parsley, or thyme, herbs add so much flavor to everything! This swirled pesto bread is a showstopper in beauty and taste!
Swirled Pesto Bread
- Rolling pin
- ¾ cup lukewarm milk
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- 3 eggs
- 3 ½ - 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for work surface
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter plus more for serving
- 2 cups fresh basil tightly packed
- ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast, honey, eggs, 3 ½ cups flour, and salt. Using the dough hook or your hands, mix for about 4-5 minutes until the flour is completely incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, mix for about 3 minutes until combined. If the dough is still sticky, add the remaining ½ cup of flour. The dough should be smooth and tacky, but not sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Wash and dry the basil leaves. In a food processor, combine basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.
- Once the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a large rectangle about 12x18 inches. Spread the pesto evenly over the dough. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a log. When you reach the end, pinch along the edge to seal the log.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small portion at the end intact. Turn the halves to expose the filling. Cross the halves over each other, repeating this step until you have a long twisted dough.
- Starting at the dough's top, coil the end towards the center like a snake, stopping halfway. Then at the bottom of the dough, coil the end towards the center in the opposite direction. The end dough shape should resemble figure 8. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Transfer the bread to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Slice and serve warm smeared with additional butter.