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Spicy Tomato Pesto and Parmesan Star Bread

  • Author: Erin Clarkson
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus rising time
  • Yield: One 12" star bread - serves 8-10 1x


Fluffy brioche dough is layered with spicy tomato pesto and parmesan, then twisted into an easy but beautiful star bread which is perfect for tearing and sharing.



Brioche Dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 240g whole milk, lukewarm
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 545g all-purpose flour
  • a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 90g unsalted butter, at room temperature


  • 1 jar Filippo Berio Spicy Tomato Pesto
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tsp water
  • Pretzel Salt for finishing (optional)



  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, remaining 1 Tbsp sugar, and black pepper. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. If it is not coming together, add extra milk a teaspoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or overnight in the fridge.


  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Weigh the dough and divide into four pieces, then shape each into a ball, cover and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Roll the first piece of dough into a 10” (25cm) circle, and place on a parchment paper lined and lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have four 10” circles, making sure each is lightly dusted with flour before placing the next circle on top to ensure that they do not stick (alternatively layer a piece of parchment paper between each circle).
  3. Place the first circle on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Top with 2 Tbsp of the Filippo Berio Spicy Tomato pesto, and spread over the surface, leaving about 1/2” border clear at the edges. Sprinkle the pesto with 1/3 of the parmesan cheese.
  4. Top with a second circle of dough, smoothing down gently, and repeat the layering process with the pesto (leaving a border) and cheese. Top with the third piece of dough, then add a final layer of pesto and cheese before topping with the final dough circle (the top does not get pesto and cheese on it).
  5. Place a 2 1/2” cookie cutter or glass in the middle of the stacked dough circle. Using a sharp knife, cut into 16 pieces, working from the cookie cutter outward (the cookie cutter is there to leave an uncut circle of dough in the centre). I find this easiest by making four cuts - top, bottom, left and right, and then dividing each of those sections into four by cutting in half and each in half again.
  6. Once you are finished making your cuts you should have a circle of dough in the middle and 16 strips of dough around the outside.
  7. Remove the cookie cutter, and brush a thin layer of egg wash on the 1/2” border around the outside.
  8. Take two strips, and twist them away from each other twice, then pinch the ends together into a point. Repeat with the remaining pairs of dough until you have an 8 point star. Pinch the points together again if needed.
  9. Lightly cover the bread with plastic wrap and leave to rise until puffy, approximately 30 minutes. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350°f/180°c.
  10. Brush the surface of the star bread with egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
  11. Bake the star bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and baked throughout - it should register 190°f / 85°c on a thermometer.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
  13. Leftovers can be rewarmed slightly in the microwave.

Keywords: star bread, pesto, tear and share, brioche, holiday bread