The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pesto Bread

Floydm's picture

Pesto Bread

I was preparing to make a couple of loaves of French Bread this weekend when I noticed we had some pesto sauce in the fridge that I needed to use up.  I went ahead and dumped it into the mixer to see what would happen.

Well, it definitely turned green.  The flavor?  Not bad, but not as compelling as I'd hoped.  It  seems like something is missing... maybe bits of sun-dried tomatoes?  Or cubes of mozzarella and salami mixed in?  Or parmesan cheese melted and browned on top?  I'm not sure.  It is worth further experimentation with this, but I don't feel like I've struck gold yet. 

My formula (or at least my notes, since this was one of those "measuring everything by the handful" kinds of recipes).


1 cup AP flour

1 cup water

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast


Final dough:

All the Preferment

16 oz AP flour

10 oz water

1 teaspoon salt (less than normal since I figured there was quite a bit in the pesto)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 cup pesto sauce

Enough additional flour to make the ingredients bind together properly (which in my case was nearly 1 1/2 more cups, but it would be less if your pesto was less runny).




arlo's picture

We make a pesto and asiago loaf at work that features some chopped spinach as well. Perhaps next time try some asiago and it might be a bit more to your liking. I do like your idea of sun dried tomatoes too!

Hope to see you revisit this loaf perhaps, I can see some great potential.

Floydm's picture

That sounds good. 

Funny, I was making a spanakopita at the same time I was preparing this.  Maybe I should have just mixed the two bowls together!

wally's picture

But I'm asking myself: what if you'd taken that dough, made a pizza, and covered it with the pesto and maybe some of the other ingredients you mention above?  I can't help but wonder if the various flavors wouldn't have been more distinct and satisfying.


Floydm's picture

Yes, I think you are right.  And I do often make "green pizza" topped with pesto, chicken or shrimp, and tomatoes and we love it.  I was just curious if I baked it up into a loaf if I could find something more portable that'd be as compelling.  Like what about a turkey sandwich on pesto bread?  It sounds promising.

wally's picture

Let me know if that turns out well.

farina22's picture

You might consider using the pesto later on in the process. Instead of mixing it into the dough, how about spreading it onto the dough before shaping so you get a spiral of pesto. That way the dough will remain its normal creamy color and you'll have bites of intensely flavored pesto swirls? Just a thought.

Must be getting onto to gardening time if you're going through the last of the pesto from the previous season!