Pesto Spread Bread

September 23, 2011

I had a fun summer.  One of the reasons it was so fun is because I spent it with great friends.   All through the summer the town where I live has free movies that they show in the town green.  I know that hundreds of towns across the country do this, but this is the first year we really took advantage.  I think we may have missed only one or two movies.

Most days, my husband didn’t join us do to obligations at his dad’s house.  His dad is in his 80’s, lives alone with too much property and too much house.  My husband works fairly close, so during the  summer he cuts the grass, during the winter he clears the snow, and during the rest of the year, he’s there doing anything that may come up.

So we would pack our blanket, and chairs, along with snacks and drinks and head out.  Meeshie loved it because she would sit with her friends, enjoy some snacks and watch a movie.  She especially liked the Wizard of Oz because of the goodie bags they passed out to encourage participation.

I liked it because it gave me an opportunity to sit with some great friends.  We sat in our chairs, had a few drinks, told a few tales, and shared a million laughs.  We also swapped recipes.  I love swapping recipes, either in person or via the internet.

This recipe is one of those that came up in conversation during one of those hot summer nights.  As soon as my friend Lisa told me about it, I knew I would make.  I’ve been waiting for the weather to cool off so that I could add a twist to the recipe by incorporating it into my favorite food, bread.

The original recipe is just the pesto spread and it calls for 3 pounds of butter and cream cheese, plus the pesto.  With that much cream cheese and butter it seems like it would make enough spread to serve at a wedding reception.  So I cut it down to use inside some great crusty bread and there was enough to put aside to enjoy.

If you’re afraid of yeast, you can just make the spread to use on bread.  The original recipe suggests spreading the pesto mixture on a cookie sheet, letting it chill and cutting it into shapes with a small cookie cutter.  Or you can buy the bread dough at the store and follow the directions.  Or just jump in and make the dish as directed.  You can do it!

Pest Spread Bread

  • Pesto Spread
  • 1 C Pesto
  • 1 C Butter, very soft
  • 1 C Cream Cheese, very soft
  • Bread
  • 1 1/2 C Warm Water (110 degrees)
  • 1 T Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 C Flour

Pesto spread: Whip the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and creamy, no lumps.  Then add the softened butter.  Do not over whip or it will cause the spread to be crumbly.  Mix in the pesto.  Set aside.

Bread: In a large bowl, stir the warm water, yeast and sugar together.  Set aside for about 10 minutes, the mixture will become creamy.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 C of the flour.  Stir.  Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 C at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, turn to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and spread the pesto mixture.  You may not use all of the pesto mixture, just set that aside to enjoy later.  Roll up the dough as tightly as possible and cut in half.  You can place them crease side down in a prepared bread pan, or cut one of the logs up into spiral rolls.  If you make the rolls, place them on a parchment sheet lined cookie sheet.  Cover with a damp cloth or greased saran wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven, or until golden brown.


  1. Those sound like great summer evenings for you and for Meeshie! The second I saw the title to your post, I was envisioning the smell of this bread baking in the oven. I have a lot of pesto in the freezer so I just may try this out. I’ll let you know if I have success.
    Thanks for the recipe (and the encouragement for a yeast bread novice)!

    • Allison-
      This bread recipe is very simple and easily adaptable. I make dinner rolls with it as well as other things. If you run the tap, it should hit right around the 110 degree mark so you don’t have to heat up the water. But if you are concerned, you can buy the ready made bread and follow their instructions. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

  2. Hi Karen,
    The bread looks awesome!!! Great idea with the pesto butter spread. I ended up freezing some of the extra spread that I made, thawed it out the other day and put it on some crusty bakery bread and it was delicious.

    • Lisa-
      Thank again for this recipe. I forgot to mention in the post that I also made panini sandwiches with the bread. I had some eggplant that I breaded, added some cheese and sauce, perfection.

  3. This looks amazing. I can imagine that when it is baking the house is filled will all sorts of wonderful smells and makes your mouth water just walking near the kitchen. I cannot wait to try this.

  4. I love the sound of this bread! I love getting recipes from friends and neighbors. They’re usually the best!

  5. […] bread.  I consider her to be a little bit of an expert on the subject.  Recently she posted this Pesto Spread Bread and it’s next on my list.  Doesn’t it look amazing?  I’ve got some arugula pesto […]

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