Pesto Swirl Sourdough w/ Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pecorino Romano

I made some pesto the other day to serve with some veggies and pasta and ended up with some left over. It sat in the fridge for a day or two before I finally started itching to use it in something. What better way than to throw it in bread! I also had some extra sun dried tomatoes that I threw in as well.

Pesto and sun dried tomato swirl sourdough

Schedule:

This will give you a rough timeline to follow. Just keep in mind that from the time you start mixing the dough until you take it out of the oven is about 4 hours. A lot of this is hands-off time but you do need to be around to perform certain actions.

  • 11:15am – Mix all dough ingredients in stand mixer for 3-5 minutes until incorporated and smooth.
  • Ferment for 1 – 2 hours or until doubled in size. My kitchen was 69’F and it took 1 hour to double in size.
  • 12:25pm – Roll dough, add filling and braid it
  • Let the braided dough proof in the bread pan for 1 hour
  • 1:20pm – Bake in preheated 350’F oven for 40-45 minutes

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 361g Bread Flour
  • 113g sourdough starter (last fed 18 hours prior)
  • 152g water @ 92’F
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Tbsp softened unsalted butter

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

Instructions

This is an expansion of the rough outline provided in the schedule above. I recommend using a stand mixer as it makes preparing the dough extremely easy. I use the dough hook attachment and it works great.

First, add all the ‘Dough’ ingredients into the stand mixer. The butter should be soft but doesn’t need to be melted. Mix with the dough hook attachment for 3-5 minutes or until the dough comes together and looks shiny.

After mixing, form the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Rather than wasting plastic wrap, I save the plastic bags I buy my fruit and veggies in at the grocery store and place the bowl in that.

Stages of bulk fermentation. Top left: after mixing; Right: fermenting in bag; Bottom left: finished fermenting

Once your dough has doubled in size, cut it into two pieces and roll each one out individually. Be sure to flour your work surface slightly so the dough doesn’t stick. Fortunately the fat from the butter will help keep it from sticking too much, but having a bench scraper handy is always a good insurance policy.

With the rolled dough roughly the right shape, add the pesto to one piece and the sun dried tomatoes and cheese (w/ 1 Tbsp of olive oil) to the other.

Both halves rolled out
Ingredients spread out onto each half

Next you’ll want to carefully roll each half of the dough into a log, roughly 12″ long. Grease your loaf pan and then put the braided loaf in the pan. Use the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and brush it ontop of the loaf to prevent it from drying out during proofing. Allow your loaf to proof for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350’F.

Rolling the pesto half
Pinch the ends of both pieces together on one side
Start folding each log over itself
Finished “braided” loaf
Un-proofed braid in a greased Pullman loaf pan
After an hour of proofing

Bake at 350’F for 40-45 minutes, tenting the pan with foil for the first 15-20 minutes.

Once the loaf has finished baking, take it out and remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before cutting into it.

Pesto swirl bread after 43 minutes in a 350’F oven

Results

I’m really happy with how this turned out. The pesto flavor is pretty well distributed throughout each slice. Next time however, I’ll probably use pizza or pasta sauce instead of the sun dried tomatoes.

Because the sun dried tomatoes weren’t mashed up into a paste, you don’t really get to see the other half of the braid.

I plan on using this bread to make some pressed sandwiches this weekend. I feel like having the added flavors of the bread will go really well with a hot and cheesy pressed sandwich.

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