The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

A Rose for Christmas

breadsong's picture

A Rose for Christmas

Happy holidays everyone!

This is a take on Guro’s lovely Caucasian Bread – a Christmas version, colored red, with sun-dried tomato pesto
for the filling :^)

There was a lovely round-up of Roses in this post (so many pretty breads featured!, which got me thinking about savory fillings and flavors for this bread).


Here's the recipe for the sun-dried tomato pesto (makes more than you will need for the rose bread):
Place in food processor and process until you have a smooth paste:
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preserved in oil, but drained)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1/8 to 1/4 cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese

Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 drops Tabasco sauce, and 1/2 cup real mayonnaise.
Process again until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
The recipe called for a bit more olive oil, but I held back, not wanting to make the pesto too thin (concerned it might run out during proofing and baking).

This is my interpretation of Guro's formula. I kept hydration to 63% as I liked how that worked when making
Julia's rose bread, and reduced the yeast as I was going for a longer, overnight fermentation.
I used half of the dough to make the rose, and saved the other half to make something else.

Flour counter; roll dough to 15"x20".
Cover dough with 190g of sun-dried tomato pesto, leaving a clean border (about 1/4").

Roll up from long side;  brush flour off of dough as you roll

Cut in half lengthwise (used a serrated knife).   
Fold open to expose the layers. Pick up one piece and lay over the second piece, forming an 'X' shape, keeping the cut sides facing up.

Twist the pieces to form one long rope  Coil the rope to form the rose

Proof for about one hour. Some of the olive oil might leak out during proofing

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until 195F internal temperature is reached, turning loaf for even browning or covering with foil to prevent overbrowning, if needed.

 a colorful, flavorful crumb! :^)


Thank you, Guro! This was a fun and very delicious bread to make. It had the aroma of a really good pizza,
while it was cooling.
I was regretting not having any fresh oregano to add to either the dough, or the pesto!
Something to look forward to, for next time, although the bread had wonderful flavor as is.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting :^)



ananda's picture

Hi Breadsong,

What a lovely piece; I'm thinking it could be served at dinner...a bit like Chollah.   It lends itself for sharing, and it certainly stands out as a centrepiece.

Very happy holidays to you too...when they finally arrive!

All the best


breadsong's picture

Hello Andy,
Thank you so much, and my very best wishes to you and yours for the holiday season.
The dessert table's centerpiece will be your beautiful Stollen Slice! I've got this on my 'must bake' list.
:^) breadsong

dabrownman's picture

all the way around.  Very nice baking breadsong,  We love your ingenuity.  You've given me an Italian Christmas Bread baking idea, as usual, for a round loaf in a cake tin with your red rose in the middle surrounded by little green pesto roses. Maybe a chacon....

Thanks for your recipe too!

Happy Baking.

breadsong's picture

Hi dabrownman,
I have no doubt you'll create something very beautiful and unique with your Italian Christmas Bread.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what you make, and I hope you have fun with it!
Thanks very much - and happy holidays!
:^) breadsong

Franko's picture

My gosh breadsong your Rose loaf is positively breathtaking!

In the long list of exquisite looking loaves you've made over the years this one has to be at the top of it for me. The shaping is excellent. Not only a feast for the eyes but the taste-buds as well going by the ingredients you chose for it and I can just imagine how good your kitchen must have smelled while that beauty was in the oven. I like Andy's idea of having it as a centerpiece for the table, which would be perfect for an Italian themed dinner party of some kind. Definitely keeping this one in mind for the next time we have friends over for dinner. Thanks for sharing this breadsong! 

Best Wishes,


breadsong's picture

Hello Franko,
Thank you so much! I am so grateful Guro posted about his bread; I was really taken with its beautiful shaping.
The bread did have a lovely aroma while baking - and cooling - it seemed a long wait until tasting time :^)
The sun-dried tomato pesto infused the bread with delicious flavor, but there are so many ways you could flavor/fill this - I hope you and your guests enjoy what you create.
Wishing you the best for the holidays, and thanks again!
:^) breadsong

Isand66's picture

It's such a work of art it almost seems a shame to eat it!  Of course I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks.

Fantastic job.  Thanks for sharing your creation with all of us.


breadsong's picture

Thanks, Ian :^)
The sun-dried tomato pesto recipe was given to me by a dear lady over 10 years ago.
It's wonderful and now I remember why I asked for the recipe.
I'm so glad I finally made some, and amazed that after all these years I could actually find the recipe!
Happy holidays, and thanks again!
:^) breadsong

Floydm's picture

Beautiful, Breadsong!  Would you mind if I featured it on the home page for a bit?


breadsong's picture

Hi Floyd,
It would be an honor, and thank you very much!
Happy holidays to you and your family!
:^) breadsong


sadears's picture

so cool. Will have to try that.

breadsong's picture

Hi sadears,
I hope you like making this, and hope you share a picture of your bread, if you do - would love to see it!
Happy holidays!
:^) breadsong

Farine's picture

Such a beautiful bread, the picture of perfection! All I know is that I too want it at the centre of our holiday table! 

breadsong's picture

Hi MC,
I know your holiday table with be brimming with delectable things...this bread would be proud to be a part of it!
Thank you so much, and wishing you and your family a joyous holiday!
:^) breadsong

SylviaH's picture

What an inspirational shape and filling for holiday's or special occasion or just to have and enjoy.  Thanks for sharing!

Happy Holidays!


breadsong's picture

Hi Sylvia,
I just know you'll be baking up something lovely for the holidays, and I'm happy you liked this :^)
Thanks for your holiday wishes, and my best to you, too.
:^) breadsong

bakingbadly's picture

Exquisite bake, Breadsong. Its resemblance to a rose is simply eye-catching, perfect as a centrepiece during a Christmas dinner.

I promise you, I'll give this technique a try... one day I will. Thank you for the inspiration!


breadsong's picture

Thank you, Zita :^)                     
I hope you do try this, for a holiday celebration dinner, or for anytime.
I am glad you can see a resemblance to a rose - a rose was the first thing I thought of when I saw
Guro's beautiful bread.
:^) breadsong

FlourChild's picture

Just gorgeous!  And your great in-process photos make it look easy as well as delicious.  Thanks for sharing.

breadsong's picture

Hi FlourChild,
Glad you liked the photos and hope they were helpful. Guro's technique is very do-able and yields a pretty result.
Thanks so much!
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture

Beautiful, Breadsong! very well crafted. 


breadsong's picture

Hi Khalid - thank you! You always say the kindest things.
:^) breadsong

Sadassa_Ulna's picture

Wow this is so lovely to look at and it sounds delicious. A few questions about shaping: after rolling the 15  x 20 rectangle did you roll/even out/lengthen the rope like Mr. Hitz does in the video for Russian Braids? How long was the rope before braiding? How long was the braid, and how large is the finished rose? Any tricks for tucking away the ends?

Thank you sharing this recipe, and thank you to TFL for posting this front page!


Knead2Know's picture

When I had a go I did lengthen the rope after the initial roll. I am not sure but I would say it was almost 3 feet in length before I cut in in half. One end was a bit thinner than the other and I put this into the middle which seemed to work well as the spiral is tighter there.

The braid is a bit hard to manage when you start making the spiral so I found it much easier to build it onto a piece of baking parchment which I rotated and fed the braid onto rather than the other way round... if that makes sense?

If you want the rose "petals" to look nice you have to take a bit of care that the braid is oriented cut face out at all times. The whole thing is a bit fiddly but not too bad. Clear yourself a nice big space on your work surface before you get started though.

Nothing too special about tucking away, I just pushed the very end under and gave it a bit of a pinch to seal the dough.

breadsong's picture

Thanks so much for your comment and I apologize for the delay in answering your questions (thanks to Knead2Know for answers provided, too!).
I haven't watched the video in a long while, so can't recall exactly what Mr. Hitz did, but I did not do anything other than roll it up and then cut it. When twisting the two pieces, the dough did stretch. The twist might have been about 24" or so long before I coiled it up? (I didn't measure it - this is a guess). After coiling up the twist, I re-twisted the end and tucked it under - it stayed put during proofing and baking.
The finished rose was sitting on a standard dinner plate in the photo, so it was perhaps 9" or 10" across after baking.
You are so welcome for the recipe. I hope you really like this if you make it. I've made with a sweet filling too and really loved it!
:^) breadsong

varda's picture

that there even was such a thing as a bread rose.    Thanks so much for posting the link to the collection.     Your version is lovely and I'm sure delicious.   -Varda

breadsong's picture

Hi Varda,
Weren't they a beautiful bunch of roses?
We really did like the sun-dried tomato version, especially my DH. He said this bread was now one of his favorites :^)
Thanks so much for your comment!
:^) breadsong

rossnroller's picture

Looks fabbo and from your comments, tastes as good as it looks! Instant addition to my gotta-bake list.

That pizza aroma during the bake set the hook!

Thanks a lot for your inspirational post.

Cheers and seasons greetings

breadsong's picture

Hi Ross,
Hope you do make this :^)
Thanks for your compliments and greetings of the season - and wishing you the best for the holidays, too!
:^) breadsong

dsadowsk's picture

and don't celebrate Christmas, I just might make this anyway, it looks so stunning!

breadsong's picture

Thank you, and I'm so glad you liked the look of this bread.
There are so many ways you could flavor it - I made a sweet version of this bread awhile ago, using a cinnamon-bun-type filling. Yummy.
I'll be thinking of anything delicious and of a spreadable consistency, to use as a filling, for the next try!
:^) breadsong


mwilson's picture

Ever so pretty breadsong.

Love sun-dried tomatoes!

Thanks for sharing this delight with us.


breadsong's picture

Hi Michael,
Thank you! The pesto was a lovely flavoring for the bread, and the extra pesto was a very tasty way to dress some pasta :^)
I was happy to share this one - and am grateful for all of the beautiful Italian breads you share on your blog.
I can see why your lievito naturale is beloved :^)
I so appreciate your comment -
:^) breadsong

highmtnpam's picture

Breadsong,  I had no idea you could make a rose like that. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration.  Merry Christmas.   Pam

breadsong's picture

Hi Pam,
It's wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for the Christmas greeting and wishing you the very best for the season, too!
:^) breadsong

Knead2Know's picture

Thanks for the wonderful recipe and technique! I made this today to take to lunch with friends. I was delicious and beautiful. I will make a sweet version for Christmas I think.

Here are a couple of shots of my attempt:



HeidiH's picture

That's a complete ACCOMPLISHMENT!

breadsong's picture

Hi, I am so happy you made this and what a beautiful job!
I love the crumb shot, rippled so perfectly with the contrasting filling, showing how nicely, and evenly,
the dough was rolled out :^)
I hope your and your lunch friends loved it - and that you like your sweet version just as much.
Happy holiday baking!
:^) breadsong 

Knead2Know's picture

Very kind of you. The pesto was divine as well, thanks so much for sharing the recipe! We had the leftovers stirred into butternut squash soup and it provided a wonderful, bright note.

jarkkolaine's picture

I love it! I'll have to try this some time soon. :) 

Thanks for sharing. 


breadsong's picture

Hi Jarkko,
You are so welcome and thanks so much for your compliments.
I hope you like making this.
:^) breadsong

nicodvb's picture

Both breadsong's and the one by Knead2Know!

Happy holidays.


breadsong's picture

Hi Nico,
Thank you and I hope you have a very happy holiday season, also!
I agree, Knead2Know made a very beautiful bread and it made me happy to see someone else gave it a go.
:^) breadsong


sgregory's picture

WOW.  Can't wait to try that after final's this week.!!!!!! 

breadsong's picture

Hope all goes well with your studying and exams this week.
Then, on to the fun stuff :^)
Thanks very much for your kind words!
:^) breadsong

sgregory's picture

Thanks again for the bread idea.  Easy to have good results with this methods and a stunning presentation.  Never got a good crumb shot as it was devoured before I could get one.  Guess I will have to make some more!  Deviated from recipe in that I used 15% fresh ground Spelt instead of Whole Wheat and Rye.  Also used Sir Lancelot flour instead of AP.

breadsong's picture

*Love* the red and green - what lovely roses :^)
I really love green flowers; your green pesto kept its color beautifully!
Happy holidays, and happy baking -
:^) breadsong


Windischgirl's picture

I was delighted to see this on the home page--it's so gorgeous that I had to email the photos to my family.

So they voted: I am making this bread for Christmas, in the basil pesto version.

The dough is currently rising; I'll let you know what happens!

Breadsong, thanks for the inspiration,


breadsong's picture

Hi Windi,
I hope you and the others in your family loved your bread!

Seeing the lovely basil rose above, and your note, encouraged me to make one with basil pesto too.

before proofing; less 'green' after proofing, and baked

The basil pesto was more pourable than spreadable, so I put the pesto in the food processor with some sliced almonds and pureed it to thicken it. Next time I might also add some grated cheese, to thicken it a little more.

The basil flavor in this bread was really lovely, and hope you enjoyed your basil bread too.
Happy baking!
:^) breadsong


utahcpalady's picture

I wonder if you could use this technique to make a cinnamon roll rose? Have you tried it?