Pesto and Spiced Cheese Pull Apart Loaf


Phobias are meant to be conquered. I have a phobia of crowds – Enochlophobia. Can’t go to a busy public place as I start to have palpitations when it’s too crowded. Am trying to overcome it but looks like I am fighting a losing battle


Another phobia is working with yeast. The only class I ever attended was a bread baking class and thankfully that was a step in the right direction.

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I love pesto – the nuttiness, the creaminess, the freshness of the sauce is to die for. I usually bottle up different sauces at home and stock it in my freezer for a rainy day.


The rains are thundering outside and it was time to pull out the pesto and tackle Mr. Yeast. Baked a pesto and spiced cheese pull apart loaf that’s simply yum. Layered alternately with pesto and cheese spiced with oregano and chilli flakes.

Perfect with a cup of tea but didn’t have the patience to wait until evening, so finished half of it for lunch. 


Pesto Ingredients

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic flakes
1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Add basil leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, salt in a food processer.
  2. Turn on the machine on low, then drizzle in olive oil while it mixes.
  3. Continue blending until combined adding additional olive oil if needed. Set aside 
Pull apart loaf Ingredients
2 cups Maida
3/4 cup luke warm water
1 1/2 tbsp Everyday milk powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Prime instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp soft Amul butter
grated Brittania pizza cheese
red chilli flakes
milk to spray
butter to brush
baking paper to line the tin
  1. Sieve the flour, add the salt, milk powder, sugar, yeast to it. Mix it well.
  2. Add the lukewarm water to the dry mix and mix it well.
  3. Use your table top to knead the dough, dust it with flour and gently start the kneading process.
  4. Do not put too much pressure. The movement starts from the top of your palms and stretch the dough to the bottom of your palm in a pushing motion, Light pressure only. Do not try to knead like chapati dough.
  5. Add the butter in instalments and keep on kneading. Little butter – knead – little flour to bind – knead – little butter and so on. Do not add extra butter or too much maida.
  6. Use a plastic scraper to help you get the dough together and continue to knead for about 15 mins.
  7. The dough tends to be sticky but will slowly come together towards the end. Do not overwork it. Pull out a small piece of the dough and stretch it. If it has elasticity and doesn’t tear easily, then your dough is ready.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Grease the dough also.
  9. Take a wet cloth and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Cover the dough with this cloth and leave it in a warm place for about 45 mins or till it has doubled in size.
  10. Line a bread tin with parchment paper to cover all sides.
  11. Gently deflate the dough and start rolling it out into rectangles. You can make circles also and cut out the sides to make a rectangle
  12. Lay 1 rectangle on the table top. Layer it with pesto sauce.
  13. Make another same size rectangle and place it on top of this one.
  14. Grate cheese on it, sprinkle oregano, chilli flakes and little salt.
  15. Continue the process, layer by layer  (about 5-6 layers).
  16. After the last rectangle sheet is placed, cut it lengthways as per the size of the tin.
  17. Pick one layer length and put it on top of the other.
  18. Then cut breadthwise to make smaller rectangles.
  19. Place them side ways in the tin in a row, leaving enough space for it to expand.
  20. Spray milk lightly and keep it back covered, in a dark place for another 45 mins – 1 hr (i left it in my switched off oven).
  21. It will double again, remove it from the oven and spray with milk again.
  22. Preheat the oven to 175-180 degrees C.
  23. Bake on the lowest rack for 20-25 mins. Do not keep the tin on the floor of the oven.
  24. Leave the tin in the oven for 5-10 minutes once done. Remove from the oven and brush with butter. Grate some cheese on top.
  25. When slightly cool, remove from the tin and discard the parchment paper. Its ready to serve.

Note – The temperature of my oven is on the higher side, so i usually bake for lesser time. Please set the time and temperature as per your individual ovens. plus minus 5.