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Italian Pesto Bread

Servings: 12
Author: Angela Marinelli, inspired by Foodie Bride

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups whole spelt flour plus more for dusting work surface
  • 1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

For the loaf:

  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp grated cheese I like pecorino ramano, can use parmesan, or vegan rice parmesan cheese

Instructions

Activate the Yeast

  • Heat water to 90 - 95 degrees.
  • Pour warm water into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top of water.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Should start to foam.

Mix the Dough

  • Add the flour, oil, and salt to yeast mixture.
  • Using the dough hook turn the mixer to low.
  • Once the ingredients are incorporated, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  • The dough should completely clean the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  • If the dough is sticking to the bottom and/or sides of the bowl, add flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away.
  • Once kneaded, form the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and let rise in a draft-free place until doubled (about 1 hour).
  • I like to let my dough rise in an oven I'm not using.

Roll Out Your Dough

  • Lightly flour your work surface.
  • Gently stretch and elongate your dough.
  • Roll into a rectangle, about 18x12 inches. Rolling onto a Silpat works perfectly.
  • Spoon pesto over top, spreading evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
  • Roll the long side of the dough to you and pinch the seam closed.
  • Transfer to your parchment (or Silpat)-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.
  • Cut the dough in half down the length of the dough and pinch the top ends together.
  • Quickly twist the two pieces, keeping the cut ends on top.
  • When you get to the bottom, pinch the ends together and wrap into a wreath.
  • Transfer to your baking sheet
  • Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  • Let rest for 30 minutes.

Bake

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Top with shredded cheese (if using).
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly and slice to serve.