Pesto Artichoke Star Bread is a pull-apart style bread that can be used as an appetizer or side. A gorgeously designed yeast dough filled with pesto, artichokes and cheese then baked to golden brown. This bread is surprisingly easy and will impress all your guests!
I have always thought star bread was a beautiful holiday treat. I was also always very intimidated to make it. It was so beautiful that it had to be extremely difficult, right?
WRONG. Pest Artichoke Star Bread is SO much easier than you think. It’s similar to making cinnamon roll dough. Except it’s rolled out differently.
The cutting and twisting of the star bread is what I was most nervous about. I thought surely my star bread would look like a 4 year old had done it. Then I was pleasantly surprised!
Making Pesto Artichoke Star Bread is surprisingly easy. There are a few easy tips I will share with you so you can make the same gorgeous star bread. Check the tips section and the instructions!
Try my Star Bread with raspberry filling!
What is Pesto Artichoke Star Bread?
Star bread is a yeasted dough that proofs twice then is baked for about 20 minutes. Star bread dough is very similar to cinnamon roll dough. Many times the filling for the star bread is sweet.
In this particular recipe I use a savory filling of pesto, artichokes and cheese. So I omitted the vanilla and some of the sugar that I would normally use in a star bread dough with a sweet filling.
It is 4 layer of dough with filling in between then made into a star shape and baked. The star shape is actually fairly easy to make. You just need something with a 3 inch diameter (I used a mason jar), a pizza cutter and your hands!
Can I make Pesto Artichoke Star Bread ahead of time?
The best answer to that is no. Star bread is best eaten fresh and warm. It does keep for 3-4 days but the quality and texture of the dough is not quite the same after it’s been cooled and stored.
If you are going to keep your leftovers and eat them later I would recommend warming the star bread slightly in the microwave before eating. It will soften up the dough just a bit.
So while it is completely fine to keep and eat the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread for up to several days later, I don’t recommend it for serving at a party. It will be at it’s highest quality when first removed from the oven and that’s how I prefer to serve it to guests.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Whole Milk – This is what you’ll activate the yeast in
- Butter – Butter will go into the star bread dough, unsalted is best
- Yeast – Yeast makes the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread rise
- All Purpose Flour – This is the base and structure of the star bread dough
- Granulated Sugar – Sugar helps the yeast to activate
- Egg – Egg will go in the dough and be brushed on top before baking to get a beautiful golden brown crust
- Kosher Salt – Salt brings out all the flavors. Please do not substitute table salt, it’s not the same
- Pesto – You can make your own or buy your favorite kind from the grocery store
- Marinated Artichokes – Again you can marinate your own or buy your favorite brand from the store
- Parmesan Cheese – I buy a block and grate it myself
- Romano Cheese – I buy a block to grate myself of Romano also
Equipment you’ll need
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook – This is how I do this particular recipe although, you can knead by hand if you don’t have a mixer. This is the mixer that I use!
- Oven – I like to proof my dough in the oven (turn it to 150°F then shut it off and place the covered dough inside with the door shut) and you will also bake the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread
- Rolling Pin – The dough will be cut into 4 equal sections and then rolled out. You can use an old school rolling pin or a marble rolling pin
- Pizza Cutter – I like to use a pizza cutter to make cutting the strips a breeze
- 3 inch round Diameter – I used a mason jar for this. It’s just to make a circular impression in the middle of the dough before cutting the strips
- Thermometer – I use a thermometer to double check the milk temperature to make sure that my yeast activates properly. Too cool and it won’t activate, too hot and it will kill the yeast. I use a digital thermometer like this
- Large Sheet Trays – The Pesto Artichoke Star Bread is pretty big so you’ll need a large sheet tray. Here’s what I use at home!
Tips for the best Pesto Artichoke Star Bread
- Use a thermometer to temp your milk. You want to make sure you have it at 110°F-115°F to activate your yeast properly
- Use a ruler to measure to the center of the star bread dough to ensure you’re placing the circle right in the middle. You can also use a ruler to measure before cutting the strips
- Do not over bake, you’ll end up with dry star bread
- Do not over knead the dough
- Set aside some extra pesto for dipping if you’d like. I’m a sauce lover so I love to dip
- After you roll all 4 circles out, fill them and layer them then trim the edges with the pizza cutter to make your circle round again. If you’re anything like me you can’t roll out perfectly round dough to save your life
- Make sure the dough is rising in a WARM place. Not hot but definitely not cool. I like to turn my oven on to 150°F then shut it off, place the covered dough inside there with the door shut
- Eat the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread immediately or shortly after removing it from the oven for the best quality
- This would also be delicious if filled with my Roasted Garlic Spinach Artichoke Dip!
How to make Pesto Artichoke Star Bread
Warm your milk to 110°F-115°F, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer then whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the milk, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel then place it in a warm spot to rise for 10-15 minutes until yeast is frothy.
Add the butter, egg, salt and flour to the yeast mix then using the dough hook attachment knead for 3 minutes on low speed. The star bread dough should have formed into a ball, be soft but not too sticky. Add a little flour if the dough is too sticky.
Place the star bread dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel then let it rise in a warm spot for 60-90 minutes. I normally do closer to 60.
Meanwhile, make the pesto artichoke filling. Chop the artichokes into a small dice then mix the two cheeses into a bowl together.
Once the dough has risen turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down the dough to let the air out. Cut the star bread dough into 4 equal parts. Form each part into a ball.
Roll out 1 of the dough balls into a 10-12 inch circle then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread 1/3 of the pesto artichoke filling over the star bread dough.
Repeat until you top the bread with the final circle of dough. Do not put pesto artichoke filling on the top. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter to get as close as possible to a perfect circle.
Measure (or guess) to the center of the dough and place the cup (or whatever you’re using for a 3 inch diameter) and press down firmly.
Do not press all the way through but you do want to leave an indent. Using a pizza cutter cut the dough through the center one way then through the center the other way NOT CUTTING through the 3 inch diameter.
Lift the pizza cutter up when you reach the circle and place it back down on the other side and continue to cut so that you do not cut through the center of the star bread. Once you have 4 sections you will cut each of the 4 sections in half again.
You then have 8 equal sections. Cut each of the 8 sections in half to end up with 16 strips of dough. Grab 2 sections of dough that are next to each other with your thumb, pointer and middle finger then lift up slightly, twist 3 times then press the ends together to form a point.
Repeat this with the rest of the star bread. Cover the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread with a kitchen towel and let rise another 20 minutes on top of the stove while your oven preheats to 350°F.
Brush the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread with egg wash then bake for 20-25 minutes. Star bread will be golden brown on top and ready to serve hot or slightly cooled. Enjoy!
Try out my Star Bread with raspberry filling for a sweet version of star bread.
Love spinach artichoke dip? Fill this star bread with Roasted Garlic Spinach Artichoke Dip!
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Pesto Artichoke Star Bread
- stand mixer
- dough hook
- large sheet pan
- 3 inch diameter object (medium – large mason jar)
For the Dough
- ¾ cup milk heated to 110°F-115°F
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active yeast equal to 1 pkg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2¼ cup all purpose flour
For the Filling
- 12 oz pesto
- 10 oz artichoke small dice
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shaved or freshly grated
- ⅔ cup Romano cheese freshly grated
For the Top
- 1 egg for eggwash
Making the Dough
- Warm milk to 110°F-115°F then whisk in sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer until dissolved
- Sprinkle yeast over the top of milk mixture, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until yeast is frothy
- Add butter, egg, salt and flour then knead in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on low speed for 3 minutes
- The dough should have formed a ball, be soft but not too sticky. If it's too sticky add a little flour
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 60-90 minutes
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch the dough down once to get the air out
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll them into balls
- Roll 1 section of dough into a 10-12 circle and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Spread ⅓ of the pesto, artichoke and cheese over the dough. Roll out the next ball of dough, layer it on top of the first and repeat this process until all the dough is layered on top of each other. Do not put filling on top of the last layer of dough
- Using a pizza cutter, trim the outer edges of the circle to for a round shape
- Place the 3 inch diameter object directly in the center of the dough and press down firmly but do not press all the way through
- Using a pizza cutter cut the dough in half directly down the center one way then directly down the center in the opposite direction being careful NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE CENTER WHERE THE 3 INCH DIAMETER IS. Leave the center circle intact the entire time
- You should have 4 equal sections of dough. Cut each of those in half to have 8 sections of dough. Cut each of those in half to end up with 16 strips of dough
- Grab 2 strips of dough next to each other, slightly lift them then twist outwards 3 times and press the ends together to form a point
- Repeat with remaining dough strips
- Cover the star bread with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F
Making the Filling
- While the dough is rising for the first time get your filling ready. Small dice the marinated artichokes and grate your cheese
Baking the Pesto Artichoke Star Bread
- After the star bread has risen for the second time, egg wash the top of the dough then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
- Do not over bake
- Serve hot or warm and enjoy!