Pesto Swirl Bread

Pesto Swirl Bread – the tender crumb and zingy pesto make for rustic perfection

This Pesto Swirl Bread is one of the prettiest breads I have ever seen!

And it’s not only got the looks;  it also tastes fabulous!

I’ve made this bread a few times now.
The first time round I stuck to the recipe: I braided the bread, then baked it in a square tin. The loaf turned out wonderfully fluffy and fragrant.

Then I was inspired by some pictures on another blog: I added some goats cheese, cut the bread into slices and arrange them in a round cake tin. The result was not only tasty but also visually stunning.

The blog I found the recipe on makes a square braided loaf. But I think it looks to much prettier

This bread is perfect for an Italian-themed dinner party: prepare this stunning dish in advance. Once your guest arrive you only need to stick it into the oven. Thirty minutes later you can pull out the most gorgeous loaf of bread. Believe me: they will your guests will be impressed (and so will you!)

By the way, this bread deserves a really good pesto. You could get it at a deli, but it really does not take much time to whip it up.  I included my pesto recipe below.

(recipe from the blog ‘mmmformommy‘ and inspiration from ‘thebritishlarder’

65ml (1/4) cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast
185ml (3/4 cup buttermilk)
65ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
300g (2 3/4) cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
75g (1/3 cup) basil pesto (see below for pesto recipe)
100g (1/3 cup) soft goats cheese



  1. Combine thewarm water and yeast and let it stand for 5 min until it foams.
  2. Slowly warm the buttermilk to body temperature. Add the buttermilk, oil and all dry ingredients (do NOT add the pesto) to the yeast mixture.  Knead until the dough is soft and pilable (if making in a stand up mixer: Mix on lowest speed for 1 minute to combine and then on speed 2 for 5 minutes.) Oil the bowl, place the dough in it, cover with cling film and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  3. When doubled in size, remove dough and place on floured board and roll into a rectangle approx.30 x 35cm.  Brush with pesto and roll up from the long side. Cut the roll into slices and lay these into a round cake tin.
  4. Cover with cling film and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. (I actually ended up leaving it standing for 4  hours – and it was great).
  5. Preheated oven to190C (375F) degree and bake brad for 30 minutes or until done and hollow-sounding when tapped.  Let cool on wire rack. Eat at room temperature.
  6. This bread does not keep well – but I only found out because I made an entire loaf for two. If you have any more eaters I am sure there will be none left to find out.

Serve with

  • Some more fresh pesto on the side


3 tbsp pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
Fresh basil leaves (2 cups = 500ml container)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
60ml good virgin olive oil
30g Parmesan cheese

  1. Roast the pine nuts in a dry fry pan.
  2. Bring a small sauce pan with water to the boil. Peel the garlic and drop into the water. Remove immediately (you can skip this step, but I prefer it when the garlic flavour is a little less sharp)
  3. Combine the nuts, garlic, basil, salt, pepper in a food processor. With the processor running slowly drizzle in the oil until the pesto is smooth and thick.
  4. At this point you can freeze the pesto. (Line an ice cube tray with cling-film, fill with pesto, freeze until solid then transfer to a zip lock freezer bag. Defrost as needed, preferably in the firdge).
  5. When you are ready to use grate the Parmesan and add to the pesto.
  6. The pesto will keep in a jar in the fridge for about 2 days.

Tips & Variations

  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • replace pine nuts with other nuts
  • replace basil with rocket for a spicy pesto
  • add some lemon

    • afracooking said:

      That is such a compliment coming from you! Thank you!

  1. I love baking bread like this. My favourite filling so far has been sun-dried tomato pesto, with basil and mozzarella!

    • afracooking said:

      What fabulous suggestion: I am sure tomato flavours would work great with this bread, just as well as that gooey, chewy texture of mozzerella – I must try this next time. Thank your for the idea!!!

  2. Waw, what a fabulously tasty recipe, my dear friend! Georgous to look at too!

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you so much! I just love this bread. It is so easy to make and it doesn’t only look fabulous it also delivers on flavour 🙂

      • so true! 😜

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