Braided Broccoli-Pesto Bread

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Ok you guys- it’s official- I am obsessed with baking with yeast!  What started out as an irrational parnoia has turned into my new favorite hobby. Is it the satisfaction of watching the dough rise that I love so much? Maybe thhe soft pillowy breads that come out of the oven? Is it taking all my stresses out as I knead the dough on my table? Who knows- but- I really can’t get enough.

I’d been eying this particular recipe on Pintrest for awhile, and had been waiting for the perfect chance to make it. Well the chance came a few weeks ago when my dear friend Laura and I made plans to bake together. She’d given up sweets for a few weeks (how?) so I thought it would be nice to make something she could actually enjoy. (Plus- the morning of our baking date she found out some truly amazing news- and it seemed like celebrating with a piece of broccoli pesto bread was better than nothing!)

The original recipe used store-bought french bread dough, but I wanted to try something from scratch. I thought pizza dough would be perfect for this, almost like a calzone, so I went with that. I found this recipe so easy to work with and man oh man did it rise! So much so I had to keep punching it down while I waited for Laura to arrive!

Numerous types of filling would be excellent here, but I thought broccoli pesto sounded so interesting I just had to try it. The  options are endless and I can’t wait to try it again with something new. (Brie and pears maybe?) I also am excited to try to make my first homemade pizza and actually use this as crust!

Are you intimidated by the pretty braid on top? Don’t worry- it’s easy as can be and I included step by step pictures below!!

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Braided Broccoli-Pesto Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 .25 ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • Broccoli Pesto
  • 1 head of Broccoli chopped into florets, about 2 cups
  • 2 garlic cloves- peeled
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup blanched toasted almond
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine.
  3. Knead well until a stiff dough has formed. If dough is too sticky- gradually add the extra half
  4. cup of flour. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. When the dough as proofed, turn it out onto a well floured surface, form dough into an oval shape and roll out.
  7. Add the pesto ingredients to your food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth.
  8. Spread the pesto into the middle of the dough and cut inch-thick strips onto either side.
  9. To "braid" the bread- overlap one over the other- stretching each piece to seal the the beneath it.
  10. Once the loaf is braided- brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt.
  11. Slide a the loaf onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and crisp. Cut into slices and serve warm dipped into your favorite sauce.
Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Crust adapted from: All Recipes
Filling and concept adapted from: Bev Cooks

20 Comments

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This looks so fabulous! Yum!

  2. Looks amazing and delicious. Yeast takes a while, but I agree that it’s worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I had the same experience with bread-baking! I was totally afraid of yeast (proofing?! ahh!), until I started working with it more often… and now, I love it! It’s definitely the fluffy and chewiness of the finished products that gets me. Keep up the bread posts!

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous! And I’m so glad to hear that you’re obsessed with yeast now. Yeast freaks me out so maybe if I try it enough, I’ll be obsessed like you! I’d love to make more breads at home.

  5. Oh my god I want that in my mouth right this second.

  6. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says:

    I can so relate–I used to be TERRIFIED of baking with yeast, and now I am so addicted!!

  7. Audra, This is such a beautiful braided bread! Well done! I am so looking forward to finishing up my current show so i have more time to bake!

  8. Finnaly I think I found a way for my familly to eat brocoli…!!! There are some vegtables a little bit hard to eat by the kids, but if it’s inside a home baked bread, I guess it will be a success.

  9. Jacqui Stephenson says:

    What an amazing recipe! I made this braided loaf today all the way in Brisbane (Australia) and it was an absolute hit. It turned out just like the one in your picture! I can’t wait to try different fillings. I’m thinking of doing an antipasto style one next time – ricotta, feta, olives, sun dried tomatoes and artichoke. Maybe even one with fried mushrooms with herbs and ricotta. Thanks for posting :) Jacqui

  10. Hooray! I’m so glad you hear that it turned out well for you! And your antipasto-style filling sounds great!

  11. Me and yeast baking are enemies!!! But I’m willing to give it another go, especially if it comes out this bee-yoo-tiful!

  12. MMM that looks so delicous!

  13. This looks so good! There’s no actual recipe for the pesto though. I presume you just steam the broccoli and then blitz everything in a food processor?

      1. Help! Making this tonight… Do you steam the broccoli first, or toss the raw broccoli in the food processor?

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