Pesto-Swirled Brioche Dinner Rolls – the Five Minute Way!

I seem to be on a roll …………….
……………….. literally, that is.  You see, I’ve been having the most fun lately with brioche dough. If’ you’re a frequently visitor to The Café, you may have surmised that I’m quite fond of this stuff. I was like a kid in a candy shop making the Decoupaged and Sesame Seed Brioche Rolls ……………..  then that got me inspired to make the delightful Twirly-Swirly Brioche Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. If you go back a bit into the archives of The Café, you’ll find other yummy brioche dinner rolls and even hamburger buns made from this buttery, delicious dough.

If it weren’t for the fact that my life is bursting at the seams right now with family, friends, a full time job and a blog (my daughter keeps telling me I live two lives! – Photographer/Editor’s correction – 3 lives!), I might think about opening a bakery consisting solely of brioche …………… baked, rolled and transformed into a zillion sweet and savory delights. Would you be my customer? ……………… or maybe you’d come and bake with me?

I’ve cheated a bit this time with my brioche rolls, but I think you’ll be okay with it. I used a 5-minute brioche dough from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. If you haven’t tried these amazing breads you will be in for a wonderful surprise; no kneading, no yeast problems, no angst! Just mix up the dough, let it sit out to rise and it’s ready to go. You can even refrigerate it (up to five days) at this point and keep it chilled ’til you’re ready to bake. How cool is that!

I had a stash of pesto* in the freezer and thought it would make a delicious addition swirled into my dinner rolls. I rolled the dough into a rectangle, covered the rectangle with pesto and then rolled it up just like you would for cinnamon rolls. I cut the resulting coil into 2-inch slices and placed them in muffin cups to rise. A quick brush with an egg wash before baking until puffed and golden and……… oh my… the aroma was quite intoxicating!

I’ve tucked most of these away for holiday meals, but I did have some taste-testers last week; they gave the rolls a thumbs up and loved them served warm with a pat of sweet cream butter. If you’re going to be around the house for a few hours, whip up a batch of this yummy dough. You won’t believe how easy it is and how it just does it’s own thing while you trim the tree, wrap the gifts, clean the house or whatever is on your daily to-do list. Just a warning though; once you start baking the rolls, you may find the neighbors lined up at your door, down the block and around the corner if they catch a whiff of the heady, delicious aroma emanating from your kitchen!

P.S. Oh, and FYI, so all these brioche rolls I’ve been making lately don’t roll right onto my hips, I’m going to “roll” right off of this roll I’m on! Do you think you can trust me? 🙂

Pesto-Swirled Brioch Rolls – the Five Minute Way

Ingredients for the dough:
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon granulated yeast**
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
7 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Ingredients for the Pesto Swirled Rolls:
⅓ of the brioche dough
¼ cup pesto, purchased or homemade
1 large egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash

Instructions for the dough:
1. Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.

3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours.

4. Refrigerate for a least two hours before proceeding with recipe.

Instructions for the Pesto Rolls:
1. Generously butter a 12 cup muffin pan.

2. Scoop up approximately ⅓ of dough*** and place on a well-floured work surface. Turn dough several times till coated with flour on all sides. Roll dough into a 10×18 inch rectangle. Spread evenly with pesto to within 1/2-inch of edges.

3. Beginning on one long side, roll the dough into a log and pinch edge to seal. Turn dough so that seam is faced down.

4. Cut log into 12 portions, approximately 1-½ inches each. Place in prepared muffin cups with a swirled sides up and down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size. When almost doubled, preheat oven to 350˚F.

5. Brush rolls with egg wash and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Check rolls after 15 minutes. If they’re getting too brown, cover with foil and bake for 5 more minutes to ensure that center will not be doughy.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then carefully transfer to cooling rack. When completely cool. transfer to an airtight container. May be frozen. Thaw and re-warm in a 325˚F oven for 5-8 minutes right before serving.

Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes


* ~ I’d like to tell you that I make my own pesto but usually I don’t. Homemade pesto is delicious, but it’s time consuming and quite expensive with ingredients like pine nuts and good Parmesan. I really like the pesto that Costco and Sam’s Club sell in the refrigerator section. It’s bright green and fresh and very tasty. I bring it home, divide it into small containers or glass jars and freeze it. It will last indefinitely in the freezer and, that way, I always have it on hand.
** ~ I love purchasing yeast in bulk at the big box stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. I keep a small jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for weeks without any problem. I store the rest in the freezer and it will stay good there for many months.
*** ~ Remainder of dough can be used for more pesto rolls or a zillion other yummy treats ………….  like cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, plain dinner rolls, brioche loaves, donuts, even fancy pigs in a blanket with specialty sausages!

42 thoughts on “Pesto-Swirled Brioche Dinner Rolls – the Five Minute Way!”

  • These look just gorgeous, and for a change I have all the ingredients on hand. A quick question, though: The log is 18 inches long, yes? It’s not possible to cut 18 inches into 12 portions each 2-1/2 inches long (that would require a log 30 inches long). Did you mean each portion should be 1-1/2 inches long? Or am I misunderstanding something?

    • Maureen, you can tell my math hat was not on that day! You’re right and I’ve corrected the recipe. Thanks for catching that! Hope you enjoy them!
      Kind Regards,
      Chris, the cook, not the mathematician! 🙂

  • I am lusting after these brioche rolls like you wouldn’t believe! What a great way to use up leftover pesto, but I’d even make it fresh just for these. They look fabulous!!

  • I’ve had that book on my wish list for ages! Maybe I need to give my husband a gentle nudge about potential Christmas presents 🙂 Awesome looking brioche! The pesto mash up sound delicious

  • Oh Chris I love the pesto on here. I happen to have some that I just found from my end of summer harvest and it is begging to be put to good use.

    BTW, I am IN on this bakery venture if I can only make my decorated cut out (sugar) cookies. Oh and come in after 9am. 🙂

  • I’ll come bake with you!!!

    I would have loved to have been in your house while those rolls were baking. I can imagine how delicious the aroma was. They’re gorgeous; stunningly so. I definitely need to get my hands on that book.

  • Vicki,
    My markets are so expensive with pine nuts being close to $25.00 per pound, good Parmesan around 20.00 per pound and good olive oil very pricey also. I do love homemade pesto but the Sam’s/Costo stuff is very good and at $6.00 for a huge jar, it keeps me in pesto for a long time. I wouldn’t mind a bit though if you sent me some of your yummy homemade pesto! 🙂

  • 1. Yes I understand about the double life and the work / home / kids / responsibilities is winning lately. All I want to do is blog and bake but oh well. 2. Yes I would buy your bread and 3. Yes I would love to come bake with you! Beautiful post, beautiful bread – thanks so much!

  • Great brioche! And how can you go wrong with pesto? I sometimes buy pesto too, but we grow so much basil it seems a shame not to use it. I usually use walnuts instead of pine nuts – I actually like them better, and they are tons less expensive. Anyway good stuff – thanks.

  • Angie, I really like that idea. Or maybe we could do a barter; you make the soup and share it with me (sounds so…… good) and I’ll give you a few (okay, maybe more than a few) of my rolls!

  • OMGosh Chris, i would hv given you a bear hug if you are standing in front of me. Beautiful brioche without kneading??? I’m loving this. And yes, i wouod be your customer and come learn baking with you 🙂 am so gonna make this very soon, hopefully master it in time for christmas. Big thanks!!

  • Chris,

    Have you been to Zoe’s site? She just blogged about being invited to make cookies with Barefoot Contessa. What a thrill for her. I have two of her books. These books helped me get brave enough to make bread and rolls. I am still working on the different types of yeast. I think the rapid rise is a one-rise and the active is a double-rise. I bought a box of yeast from Trader Joe’s. The cashier said she had worked there twenty years and had never sold that much at one time. I told her since they only carry it seasonally I had to make it last for the year. I also put it in the freezer. I have not made the brioche, but I will have to try my hand. These look delish.

  • It would be so cool to be able to bake with you. Can you imagine the fun we’d have? After so many delicious 5 minute bread posts from you I decided to rent the book from the library. It was hard to put down and I want to make everything in it. Now that I’ve read it I’m sure I will buy it and let the bread baking begin. For sure brioche will be at the top of my list.

  • Chris these are beautiful and I love that you swirled pesto I to them.

    I have to say though I think it’s much less expensive making your own pesto – the quantity you make fresh far exceeds what you can get in the store and its substantially less in price. I’ve never priced SAMs and have seen their beautiful green pesto but always wondered if they added food coloring or something in it. I’m sure theirs is reasonable. Either way your brioche is a winner.

    I enjoy Zoe’s blogs but have yet to purchase her books. That looks like it could be my next amazon purchase.

  • I just made some sage pesto and thought of using it for the pasta dinner tonight…but I am not sure any more…maybe I should go bake some pesto brioche for the dinner with a bowl of chestnut soup? What do you think?

  • I’ll try that recipe – really look forward to it! I am a brioche lover but have never made them at home. My favourite treat, at my favourite cafe is a cup of wonderful coffee and a brioche – no butter, no jam, just that yummy golden goodness!

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