Basil Pesto Star Bread

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The absolute best savory Basil Pesto Star Bread for the holiday season! Made with a super simple enriched dough, layered with homemade basil pesto, and baked to golden perfection. This tear and share is the perfect bread to make for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even New Years! Every bite is soft, fluffy, full of flavor, and has just the right amount of pesto. It really doesn’t get any better than this! So. GOOD.

pastic pesto star bread on parchment paper with basil around, bowl of pesto, and a knife.

About The Recipe

Honestly, there is nothing better than a cozy pull-apart bread to enjoy during the holiday’s! Especially when it’s one THIS easy. All you need to do is make the dough, let it proof, roll it out, layer it, cut and twist, and bake! It sounds like quite a bit, but I promise it’s pretty simple and SO worth it!

The best part? This bread works as an appetizer, snack, or even side dish for the holiday’s. However or whenever you serve this bread, I promise this star bread will be the star of the show!

My mom and I have been wanting to make this star bread for almost a year now. We came up with the idea around Christmas/New Years last year, but we were so busy that we just didn’t have the time to develop and test the recipe!

Well, we’re getting a head start this year and got to work early on this bread. Would you believe me if I told you we were testing this bread back in early September? Yes, you read that right! September!

It took us quite a while to finally tweak the bread to be what we wanted it to be.

Our first attempt was a pizza dough, as we figured that was gonna be the easiest…well, it was easy, but the loaf turned out crunchy and a piece had to be cut away from the bread, rather than tearing.

That’s not what we were looking for at all!

overhead shot of star bread with piece on white plate beside, fresh basil, white flowers, bowl of pesto, and more plates beside.

So, we went back to the drawing board.

Every attempt we tried seemed to give us the same results. Crunchy exterior, soft inside, but needed to really be cut away from the loaf rather than torn…that is, until we tried this!

We basically took our pizza dough recipe and turned it into an enriched bread (added eggs and buttermilk!). This worked perfectly the first time! The bread was soft, even after baking, rose well, and browned evenly.

We couldn’t be happier! So, after a month of testing, we are finally here with the best EVER basil pesto star bread for your holiday celebrations.

What is Star Bread?

Star bread is typically a sweet bread made from an enriched sweet dough, filled with anything from cinnamon to chocolate. Then, it is cut and shaped to resemble a star. Each piece of the star should tear away from the bread and be soft, pillow-y, and flavorful. Our take is a savory pesto filled tear-and-share for the holiday’s!

Reasons You Will Love This Basil Pesto Star Bread

  • Herby, cheesy, and SO. GOOD.
  • Tears away easily.
  • Perfect to serve as an appetizer, snack, or alongside dinner.
  • Oh so impressive and really fun to make!
  • Simply gorgeous to look at.
  • Crowd pleasing!
close up of piece pull away from star bread.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

For The Bread:

flour, milk, water, basil pesto, eggs, yeast, olive oil salt, and malt powder on marble surface.

For The Egg Wash:

  • Large Egg
  • Water
egg and water in two bowls on marble surface

How To Make Basil Pesto Star Bread

Step 1: Make the dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, yeast, salt, and malt powder. Mix on low speed until well combined.

Add water, olive oil, eggs, and buttermilk. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined, about 1-2 minutes. Increase speed to high. Knead until dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 2: Prove

Place in a covered container that has sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.

Step 3: Divide

Punch dough down and turn out on lightly floured surface.

Divide dough into fourths and round each piece of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

dough divided into four balls.

Step 4: Roll out

Working with one piece of dough at a time, remove from refrigerator. Place on a piece of parchment and roll into a 12 inch circle.

Spread ¼ cup pesto over top, leaving a ½ inch border around outside edge. Set aside.

Roll out the next piece of dough and place it on top of pesto layer. Repeat the steps above until no more dough remains.

round circle of dough laid over pesto layer.

Step 5: Cut and shape

Place a glass with a 2½”-3″ mouth in center of dough. Cut dough in equal quarters starting at glass and working to edge of dough. Cut each fourth in half, following the same technique. Then, cut each piece in half again and remove the glass.

Gently lift 2 side-by-side pieces of dough. Twist twice outwards. Pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Step 6: Make egg wash

Whisk together egg and water.

Step 7: Bake

When oven is hot, slide dough onto a flat pan. Brush top and sides of dough with egg wash.

small brush brushing the top of star bread.

Place in oven and bake 35-40 minutes.

Star Bread FAQ’s

I don’t have a mixer. Can I make the dough by hand?

This dough should be made in a mixer! While it’s doable by hand, it takes twice as long to knead and it’s a lot of work. It’s always best to use a stand mixer.

Why is my dough sticky?

This dough is a type of enriched dough! It tends to be a little bit more wet and stickier due to the addition of milk and eggs.

How can I tell when my dough is kneaded properly?

A properly kneaded dough should be smooth and shiny. Look at the photos above for help!

My dough isn’t rising in the times stated in the recipe card!

The recipe card/post states the times it took our dough to rise. We live in Texas. So, it tends to be a bit warmer here and doughs generally take less time to rise. If needed, you can purchase a bread proofer to help control the climate and improve your rising times

Why did my dough not rise?

Is your yeast in-date? If not, then you need to get new yeast and try again!

Can I use store-bought pesto?

Sure thing! We used our Homemade Basil Pesto recipe for this bread, but if you don’t have fresh basil to make your own, using store-bought will work just fine.

I’m confused on how to shape the bread!

Once the bread is cut, it’s actually really simple! Take two pieces right next to each other in each of your hands. Then, turn them the opposite way of each other. Do this twice and then pinch the ends together to create a point! (If you’re still confused, watch your wrists! Holding the dough before twisting, your wrists will be facing the counter. Once twisted, your wrists should be facing the ceiling!)

Why did the ends of my star come apart while the oven was heating?

Sometimes, this happens as the bread proves. You may need to re-pinch the ends before baking to make sure they stay together! Even then, they may come apart. This happens sometimes! The bread is still gorgeous and oh so very tasty.

pulled back shot of basil pesto star bread with one piece missing, empty glasses and small stack of plates behind.

What To Serve with Basil Pesto Star Bread

The wonderful thing about this bread is that it goes with almost anything! Here is a quick list of our favorite recipes for the holiday’s.

How To Store

Once the bread is cooled, you can store the leftovers in a zip top bag and keep in the fridge for 4-7 days. You can also freeze this bread for up to 2 months!

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like: Goat Cheese Stuffed Pretzels, Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie, Pull-Apart Pepperoni Pizza Bread, Holiday Charcuterie Board

star bread with piece pull away slightly, fresh basil, bowl of pesto, plates, and a knife around.

Expert Tips

  • Check your yeast and make sure it’s in-date.
  • A properly kneaded dough should be smooth and clean the bowl. If you have an instant read thermometer, it will read about 70 degrees F.
  • Proofing times will vary depending on room temperature! The warmer the space, the faster the dough will rise.
  • If the rolled out dough starts to proof while you’re rolling out your next piece, place it on a pan and cover it with plastic wrap. Then, place it in the fridge while you work.
  • When layering the dough, if you notice any pieces are significantly larger than others, you can trim the excess dough away with a pair of scissors. You want the dough circles all to be as close in size as possible!
  • Do NOT take the pesto all the way to the edge of the dough. You will need a small edge to be able to pinch the ends together.
  • Try and get the glass as close to the center of the dough as you can! This will help keep your cuts even.
  • When cutting, use a sharp knife to make your cuts. If your knife isn’t sharp enough, it will not cut the dough well and may squish out the pesto.
  • Work with only two pieces of dough at a time when shaping!
  • Be sure to twist the two dough pieces in OPPOSITE directions. Do not twist inwards.
  • Pinch the ends together tightly! Though, you may need to re-pinch the dough before baking.
  • Do not skip the egg wash!
  • Let the bread cool before serving.

When you make these Basil Pesto Star Bread, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

pastic pesto star bread on parchment paper with basil around, bowl of pesto, and a knife.
5 from 1 vote

Basil Pesto Star Bread

Author: Traci
The perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish! This Basil Pesto Star Bread is light, fluffy, easy to pull-apart, and full of flavor. There is no better crowd-pleasing bread to make this holiday season!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours
Servings: 9

Ingredients
 

Bread

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, yeast salt, and malt powder.
  • Mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add water, olive oil, eggs, and buttermilk.
  • Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Increase speed to high.
  • Knead until dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Place in a covered container that has sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Allow to rise in a warm place, or in a proofing box set to 78 °F, until doubled in bulk, about 1-1½ hours.
  • Punch dough down and turn out on lightly floured surface.
  • Divide dough into fourths.
  • Round each piece of dough.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Working with one piece of dough at a time, remove from refrigerator.
  • Place on a piece of parchment.
  • Roll into a 12 inch circle.
  • Spread ¼ cup pesto over top, leaving a ½ inch border around outside edge.
  • Remove another piece of dough from refrigerator.
  • Roll into 12-inch circle.
  • Place on top of 1st circle of pesto covered dough.
  • Top with ¼ cup pesto, leaving a ½ inch border around dough
  • Repeat with 3rd piece of dough.
  • Top with remaining pesto, leaving a ½ inch border around dough.
  • Roll out final ball of dough and top.
  • Place a glass with a 2½"-3" mouth in center of dough.
  • Cut dough in equal quarters starting at glass and working to edge of dough.
  • Cut each fourth in half, following the same technique.
  • Cut each piece in half again.
  • Remove glass.
  • Gently lift 2 side-by-side pieces of dough.
  • Twist twice outwards.
  • Pinch ends together.
  • Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  • Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Heat oven to 350 °F.
  • Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and the water until smooth. Set aside.
  • When oven is hot, slide dough onto a flat pan.
  • Brush top and sides of dough with egg wash.
  • Place in oven.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until done.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 614mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 499IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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