Italian Braided Pesto Bread
I’m so excited to share this Italian Braided Pesto Bread with you today! I have been waiting to share this one with you for a while. This bread looks super fancy and elegant, but it’s really quite easy to make. It’s fun for a dinner party but also easy enough for a weeknight dinner.
Easy Bread Recipe
This bread is adapted from one of my favorite easy bread recipes by Six Sisters. It’s for their Easy Homemade French Bread Recipe. If you haven’t ever tried it before, I highly recommend it! It’s super easy and very customizable. Hence this beautiful bread! I have always wanted to try a braided bread and thought pesto would be an awesome way to try it out. I used a store-bought pesto for this particular recipe, but you can certainly make a homemade one as well.
Homemade Italian Bread
Homemade bread can be intimidating sometimes, especially one that is braided. For this bread, you don’t need a bread machine or even a stand mixer. A large bowl and wooden spoon will do just fine! I will walk you through all of the steps (with pictures!) so you should easily be able to put this together. Here we go!
How to Make Italian Braided Pesto Bread
- First, you will activate your yeast by sprinkling it in the warm water in a bowl with the sugar. Once the yeast gets a little foamy, you can add in the salt, olive oil, and flour and stir to form a ball.
- Next, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it comes together completely in a smooth ball. Place it back in the mixing bowl with a little olive oil and cover it. Let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Next, punch down the dough and roll out into a large rectangle about 1″ in thickness and spread the pesto thinly over the rectangle.
- Starting on the long side, roll up the dough as tightly as possible. Then, cut the roll down the middle so you have two pieces with the layers of the roll exposed.
- Pinch the two pieces at the top and twist them together. Then pinch them together at the bottom and bring the bottom up to form a “U” shape. Twist the two sides of the “U” together to form the braid and pinch and tuck the ends under slightly to secure.
- Place the braided loaf on a prepared sheet pan, cover and let rise a second time, till doubled in size.
- Last, but certainly not least, bake!
Italian Braided Pesto Bread
- 1 ¼ cup warm water, approximately 110°
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing the bowl
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading the dough
- ½ cup pesto, store bought or homemade
- Add warm water to a large bowl and sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Let set for 5 minutes.
- Add in salt, olive oil and flour and mix with a wooden spoon until dough starts to form a ball.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth ball is formed.
- Drizzle a little bit more olive oil in the mixing bowl and add dough back to the bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Remove cover from the bowl and punch down the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle that is approximately 1" thick.
- Spread pesto thinly and evenly over the entire rectangle, leaving about ½" around the edges.
- Starting on the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly, pulling down as you go to create as tight of a roll as possible.
- Once dough is completely rolled up, using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the roll in half down the middle to expose the layers of the rolled up dough.
- Starting at the top, pinch the two pieces together and tuck under to secure the dough. Twist the two pieces of dough around each other until you get to the end. Pinch the ends together as well to secure.
- Take the bottom of the twist and bring it up to the top to form a U shape. Twist the two sides of the "U"together a couple of times and then pinch the two ends together and tuck under to secure.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and place the braided dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 30-45 minutes until double in size.
- Remove cover and bake the braided loaf in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
I hope you don’t let this bread intimidate you and you give it a try! Let me know how it goes too, I would love to hear back from you. Need the perfect dish to go with this bread? Try these favorites out: