Pesto Swirl Bread Recipe

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Swirl breads are the “lookers” of the yeast bread world! In this recipe traditional cinnamon filling is replaced with basil pesto as the star attraction rolled into a light whole wheat dough. The homemade savory filling makes this bread a perfect accompaniment to pastas, salads, soups, and grilled meats and fish. Use the pesto recipe given at the end to make homemade filling, or use commercial bottled pesto - either will make a delicious and attractive loaf. Just smear the pesto on rolled out dough, roll up, place in a loaf pan, allow to raise and then bake. Recipes like this make me glad I still use a bread machine for the dough making - it saves so much time and effort. Of course the dough can also be made traditional yeast dough method. When is cooled I like to slice it thin and toast lightly to serve with salads. See photos for another serving suggestion.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 20


Cost per serving $0.10 view details
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup pesto (commercially prepared or use homemade pesto - directions at recipe end)


  1. Place water, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast into bread machine pan in order recommended by manufacturer. Set machine for dough-making and press Start (OR USE THE TRADITIONAL BREAD-MAKING METHOD IF NO BREAD MACHINE IS AVAILABLE.)
  2. At end of bread machine dough cycle, remove dough from pan and punch down. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Roll out on lightly floured surface to form a rectangle 8 inches wide and 16 or 17 inches long. Spread the 1/3 cup commercial or homemade prepared pesto evenly over surface.
  3. Beginning at the 8-inch edge, roll dough into a fat cylinder. Tuck side edges under and pinch lengthwise seam together; place seam-side down into a greased 9-inch bread loaf pan. Loosely cover and allow to raise in a warm location for one hour.
  4. Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven until top is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes (dark pans will bake more quickly so adjust timing appropriately.) Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature when it can be sliced easily and served. (Due to the moisture of the pesto filling, any leftover bread thoroughly cooled, should be placed in food storage bag and kept refrigerated to maintain freshness and prevent molding.
  5. HOMEMADE PESTO FOR SWIRL FILLING: Measure 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts, 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt into blender or food processor. Blend or pulse, adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil a little at a time. Aim for a fairly rough and dry pesto so it doesn’t soak into the bread. Measure 1/3 cup of the pesto to use in swirl filling and reserve any leftover pesto for other uses.
  6. Yield: 1 1/2 pound loaf, about 20 or more slices depending on thickness.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 39g
Recipe makes 20 servings
Calories 107  
Calories from Fat 31 29%
Total Fat 3.47g 4%
Saturated Fat 0.55g 2%
Trans Fat 0.03g  
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 212mg 9%
Potassium 58mg 2%
Total Carbs 15.94g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1.1g 4%
Sugars 1.25g 1%
Protein 3.18g 5%
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