Braided Bread with Pesto


This braided pesto bread is beautiful and full of flavor. I've made it with several different fillings. It is crispy and flaky on the outside and filled with pesto on the inside.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr 40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
1 loaf



  • 2 teaspoons yeast

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • 1 cup packed fresh basil

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

  • teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Start the dough: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Process basil, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Pour olive oil in slowly, with the processor running, until pesto thickens. Add Parmesan cheese, walnuts, and kosher salt; process for 20 seconds. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.

  3. Finish the dough: Whisk flour and kosher salt together in a bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to yeast mixture, along with olive oil; stir until just combined. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add more flour.

  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn dough over so all sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and let sit until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently stretch and elongate dough into a 12x18-inch rectangle. Spread pesto over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Starting at the long edge, gently roll dough around pesto. Pinch the seam to seal.

  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  7. Place rolled dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut the roll in half lengthwise. Turn dough so the cut edges are facing up. Keeping the cut edges up, gently crisscross the dough. Form into a round or oval wreath shape and pinch the edges to seal. Let rest for 30 minutes.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  9. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.


You can substitute Cheddar cheese for Parmesan and pine nuts for walnuts in the pesto. You can also substitute 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto instead of making your own.

Be creative with the filling. Finely chopped raw or sautéed onions, bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, cilantro, parsley, jalapeños, and broccoli work well. If using cooked vegetables, drain any excess moisture. If the filling is too wet, the bread will not rise.

In Step 6, you can dust the baking sheet with cornmeal instead of using parchment paper.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

236 Calories
9g Fat
31g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 236
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 349mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 91mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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