Pesto Swirl Bread aka How to Up Your Soup Game

Perfect with a hot bowl of soup, especially on a cold winter’s night!

Last week I wrote about how to make Super-Easy Pesto Focaccia; this week, it’s time to step up our bread-baking game and make some Pesto Swirl Bread! Delicious, freshly-baked bread, swirled throughout with some hearty pesto…there’s nothing quite like it to make Soup Night something to look forward to!

Plus, Pesto Swirl Bread looks fantastic, and it really isn’t as hard as you might think. I love it fresh out of the oven, when it’s still hot and has puffs of steam escaping, but the DH prefers Pesto Swirl Bread toasted and crunchy, with some butter melting on top. Either way, it’s delish!

Let’s get to making some!


  • 2-3 tbsp. pesto
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. warm water (110 degrees is perfect — too hot or too cold will affect the yeast, fyi)
  • 3/4 tbsp. yeast 
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 c. oil
  • 3 c. flour 

Mix the water and yeast together and let sit until foamy. Stir in sugar, salt, and oil. Add in flour, a cup at a time. Knead dough (I use a mixer) until everything is incorporated, and then for an additional 5-10 minutes (this stretches the gluten in the dough). Once the dough is no longer super-sticky (just tacky), place it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp-ish cloth, and put in a warm place until it has doubled in size. (I usually turn the oven on for a minute or two and then turn it off, and place the bowl with the dough inside. It warms up the space enough to help the dough rise, but not enough to start cooking the dough.) This rising of the dough takes about an hour. 

Spreading the pesto on the dough. (I doubled the recipe, to make two loaves.)

Once the dough has risen, punch it down (pow! pow! pow!) and, on a floured surface, roll it into a rough rectangle. Spread the pesto on top of the rectangle, and roll the dough up tightly. Place the rolled dough in a greased loaf pan, and put it back into a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. Remove the pan from the oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then put the pan back into the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Take the pan out and let it cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan, and let it cool on a cookie rack (if you don’t remove it from the pan, the trapped moist heat can make the bread bottom a tad soggy. And no one wants a soggy bottom). Slice, and enjoy your freshly baked Pesto Swirl Bread!

This bread freezes well and, like most of my recipes, is easy to customize. You could add in some fresh chopped garlic, or cheese, or both! You could turn these into buns too; they’d be great with burgers, I think! If you make the bread, let me know if you make any additions — let’s learn from each other!

Next Post: I’m working on a recipe for Tutti-Frutti Candied Popcorn. This is one recipe that won’t make it to the DH’s office; I’ll be eating it all myself! Bonus: there’s a vegan version of it too! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday as well as at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! And, at Foodie Friday!

13 thoughts on “Pesto Swirl Bread aka How to Up Your Soup Game

  1. Jeannie

    What a good idea to add pesto! I have made something similar using brown sugar and cinnamon rolled up in the dough, but this is much healthier.

    My last two loaves of bread did not rise well. I am wondering if since it is winter, my kitchen might be too cold. It might be time to whip out the thermometer to check the water. You do something so often you forget to think.

    I will definitely try this.

    1. Margaret Post author

      Brown sugar and cinnamon sound delicious! I was thinking of developing a Cinnamon Swirl bread, and that’s basically what you’re doing! Do you find the sugar melts into the bread? I’m trying to figure out whether to add in some butter before rolling it up. And isn’t it nice to bake delicious, fresh bread? So much yummier than store-bought, at least for sandwich bread (I still need to develop some artisan seed bread recipes).

      1. Jeannie

        No, the sugar did not melt into the bread but would run down inside the bottom of the pan. My family did not mind eating the hot gooey mess but chose to fight for it. I tried rolling the bread into long strips so it would have more circles, which seemed to help. I never bothered trying to get the technique perfected because my family was happy.

        Yesterday I thawed out a jar of my home-made garden pesto in anticipation of trying your recipe. I ended up eating most of it before the day was over. It was so good I could not stop myself. I have no willpower.

        1. Margaret Post author

          I can totally see how hot, gooey sugary bread would make a family happy. 🙂
          And yay, pesto! I also thawed some pesto out last night, in anticipation of making my pesto focaccia! Great minds!

  2. Miz Helen

    Your Pesto Swirl Bread looks fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. Pingback: Tutti-Frutti Popcorn: Made with Skittles, w/ Bonus VEGAN Version! - Approaching Food

  4. Pingback: Skittles Flavoured Tutti-Frutti Popcorn! (w/ Bonus VEGAN Version!) - Approaching Food

  5. Miz Helen

    Your awesome post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. I just pinned it to our Featured board and enjoy your new Red Plate! Thanks so much for sharing with us and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. Pingback: Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread: A Stir-and-Dump Recipe - Approaching Food

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