Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread

Last Updated on March 19, 2021

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

This pesto-stuffed challah has just loads of homemade pesto running through the braid.

This challah bread is so soft and flavourful and can be used for some things from eating alone to sandwiches, dipped into some yummy tomato soup and more. It’s just so, SO good!

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

What makes Challah Bread different?

Challah bread is a Jewish egg bread that is typically braided then given an egg wash for a beautiful golden brown presentation.

Challah is made with pantry staples – flour, eggs, sugar, oil, and yeast. While it does take time for the dough to proof, it is a really simple bread to make.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

Are Brioche Bread and Challah Bread the Same?

While both Brioche and Challah are heavily egg-based, and slightly sweet, they are still quite different.

The biggest difference is that Brioche is made with butter and Challah with oil. Plus Challah is heaver on the eggs, while brioche is fat heavy.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

Tips for the Perfect Challah Loaf

While challah is easy to prepare, there are a few things to remember for the perfect challah bread every time!

  • This dough tends to be a little stickier when you are working with it. If you are kneading by hand, it can be tempting to go heavy on the flour to make it more manageable – don’t do that. You will make your loaf dense. Instead flour your surface and wet your hands.
  • Do not skip the egg wash. It helps add extra moisture to the dough and gives it a beautiful golden and glossy outside that Challah is known for.
  • If you want a more eggy bread, you can add another egg yolk to the recipe, no need make any other changes.
  • Don’t rush the process, your results will not be as good. Be patient, it’s so worth it.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

Can you Freeze Challah Bread?

After baking, place your cooled challah bread in a freezer bag. Remove the air from the bag and seal it before freezing. Challahs is good for 1-2 months when frozen.

To enjoy, defrost at room temperature for 5-6 hours.

If you like your challah warm, heat your oven to 350 degrees F, then turn it off, placing in your challah bread at that point, wrapped in aluminum foil for about 10-15 minutes. This will keep your bread soft as it warms up just the right amount.

More Mix-Ins for Challah Bread

You can make this Challah bread even more special by incorporating other mix-ins that complement the pesto like Sun-dried tomatoes, Olives, or crumbled Feta Cheese.

Challah bread is very forgiving so you can really do a lot of experimenting when it comes to the mix-ins.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

About the Pesto Challah Bread Ingredients

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Instructions with photos can be found directly below.

Flour – Just plain old all-purpose flour. Spoon and level the flour when measuring it.

Sugar & Honey – Sweetens the dough just enough.

Salt – Helps make all the yummy flavours baked into the buns to really shine.

Yeast – Use fast-acting instant yeast for this dough so you don’t have to prime with water before diving into making the dough.

Oil – Use vegetable oil, or swap with any other low flavour profile option.

Eggs – Bring to room temperature before baking with eggs if possible. They mix better and the dough will rise better.

Pesto – Making your own pesto as detailed in the recipe is ideal, you will get just the right flavour profile, but feel free to cut corners and save some time by using store bought pesto.

Eggwash – Don’t skip it, this is what helps give challah that beautiful golden brown colour and makes the sesame seeds stick.

This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

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This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

How to Make Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread

12 Servings | Prep Time: 25 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins

Ingredients for the challah bread

Ingredients:

For the Challah:

  • 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (0.25 oz) fast-acting dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Instructions:

In a large bowl or a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and yeast.

1. In a large bowl or a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and yeast.

Whisk to dissolve the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Whisk to dissolve the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Mixing the doufh in a bowl

2. Whisk in the remaining sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, oil, and salt. Slowly add the flour.

Kneaded dough  in a bowl

Knead the dough until smooth with the hook or by hand for 8-10 minutes.  

 dough in a greased bowl

3. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about two hours.

basil in a food processor

4. While challah is rising, make pesto.

pesto in a food processor

Pulse basil in a food processor with olive oil until a fine paste. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Adjust salt as desired. Set aside. 

5. Divide the dough into three pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into a long rope. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten, and then try again.

Flatten each rope and fill with pesto.

pinching the filled strands of dough together.

Seal up each strand, pinch the three strands at one end, and carefully braid.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully transfer challah to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic, then let it stand until soft and fluffy, about 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 350°F.

giving the challah bread dough braid an egg wash

8. Whisk the egg yolk with water and brush over challah.

sesame seeds on challah bread before going in the oven

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread
Yield: 12 Servings

Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This Pesto Parmesan Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a crisp, golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

Ingredients

For the Challah

  • 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (0.25 oz) fast-acting dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Instructions

In a large bowl or a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Whisk inthe remaining sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, oil, and salt. Slowly add the flour. Knead the dough until smooth with the hook or by hand for 8-10 minutes.  

Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about two hours.

While challah is rising, make pesto. Pulse basil in a food processor with olive oil until a fine paste. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Adjust salt as desired. Set aside. 

Divide the dough into three pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten, and then try again. Flatten each rope and fill with pesto. Seal up each strand, pinch the three strands at one end, and carefully braid.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully transfer challah to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic, then let it stand until soft and fluffy, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk the egg yolk with water and brush over challah. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!







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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 piece

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 351mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 9g

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This Parmesan Pesto Challah Bread recipe makes a braided loaf that is light & fluffy with a golden crust, filled with swirls of pesto.

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