I have been baking this Pesto Pull-apart Bread for several years now. Today, I finally managed to share it with you along with a video to show how easy it is. I like to call it the fun-bread because it’s just so cool to pull the slices casually and munch away. It needs no knife at all and that makes it so perfect for a picnic or party. I like to serve it with either a dip or some light soup/stew. It’s always a favorite in our house.
At first, I was intimidated with the idea of pull-apart bread. Mostly because I was quite new to baking breads using yeast. But then, one day I decided to give it a go. I just made sure we had couple packets of instant noodle as a backup for dinner in case I end up ruining the bread. As it baked, we got thrilled and amazed at how good it turned out. The entire process got a little messy but every slice was worth the effort. The aroma it made was enough to start an early dinner that night.
The bread dough is easy. Just flour, water and yeast. Like most soft breads, this dough too needs kneading for at least 12 minutes. You could go with either all-purpose flour or a mix of white and wheat bread. I haven’t tried with any other flour. The key step for this pull-apart bread is to roll out evenly after the first rise. You want to roll it into a rough rectangle. Of course, you could use a scale and measure it but I just go with a guess.
As for the filling, you can make it sweet or savory. I mostly go with pesto and try to keep the consistency of the pesto thick so that it’s easy to spread evenly. As you slice the rolled dough into small squares or rectangle, try to maintain a consistent size. Although at times, I really don’t bother much about size because I like it rusty. I love how wonky it looks after the second rise.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup luke warm water
- 1 cup warm water to knead the dough
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup pesto sauce
- ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese, optional
- In a glass, mix 1/4 cup lukewarm water with sugar and yeast. Cover the glass with a plate and allow the yeast to activate. It should take 5 minutes. If you don’t see the foam, it means the yeast didn’t activate properly. You need to throw the whole thing and start over again.
- Once yeast is activated, add both the flours to the mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the activated yeast into the well and give a mix. Then start pouring the remaining 1 cup water little by little as you make the smooth dough. Once the dough come together, knead it for 12 minutes.
- Next, take a big bowl and rub ½ tablespoon of oil at the bottom and side of the bowl. Then, shape the dough into a ball and rub ½ tablespoon of oil on it. Place the dough in the oiled bowl. Cover it with a clear wrap and then with kitchen cloth. Keep the bowl in a warm place or inside your oven with just the light on. It will take a minimum of 2 hours for the dough to rise.
- Once the bread dough rises and doubles in size, scrape it carefully to a floured board and roll it into a rough 25 x 35 cm rectangle. Brush ½ tablespoon of oil followed by the pesto sauce. Then, sprinkle the grated cheese.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the rolled dough into roughly 5 equal parts. Stack the slices on one top of each other and then slice the stacked dough into 5 roughly equal size squares/rectangles.
- Take a 9x5 loaf pan and carefully place the sliced squares/rectangles one after the other. Cover the loaf pan with a clear wrap and leave it for the second rise. It should take about an hour.
- After the slices rise and are puffed up, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Rub rest of the oil on top and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake it for 40 minutes or until the bread looks golden on top.
- Allow it to cool for a while before releasing it from the pan. To release the bread, just run a knife on the side and the bread should come out easily.
- Serve it warm as it tastes best when fresh.
The quantity of water required to make the dough might differ as it totally depends on the kind of flour you are using. So pour the water for kneading little by little to make sure your dough doesn't get too sticky.
There are a lot of varieties of pull-apart bread. And I have listed a few of my favorites below that I came across. If you haven’t given this bread a try, you absolutely should!
Valentina’S Chicken Spinach Artichoke Pull-Apart Bread
Cynthia’s Scallion Pesto Pull-Apart Bread