Braided Pizza Bread

Braided Pizza Bread


2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing dough
1-1/2 cups bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups tomato sauce plus more for serving
1/2 cup pesto plus more for serving
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Tomato sauce and pesto for serving


In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 15-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper Spread the tomato sauce lengthwise in center of the dough leaving a 5-inch border on either side. Spread on the pesto and sprinkle on the cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into angled strips about 1-1/2-inches wide. Start at one end and fold each strip over the filling alternating sides.

In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, thyme and garlic powder. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the Parmesan mixture on top. Transfer the braid on the parchment paper to a sheet pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve with tomato and pesto.