This sourdough loaf looks and smells just as good as it tastes. The dough is filled with a delicious and aromatic basil pesto, naturally leavened with sourdough starter, then stuffed with melty mozzarella cheese. This loaf tastes and smells like it came straight out of an Italian eatery and can be enjoyed on any occasion.

❤️ Why You’ll Love Pesto Mozzarella Loaf

This is a sourdough loaf for all occasions, all year long. You can make this loaf with fresh pesto from your backyard summer herbs and really wow your family or dinner guests. We’ve enjoyed this bread with everything from pasta to beef stew, or you can make an incredible lunch sandwich. This loaf really is a winner.

🍲 Ingredients

Sourdough Starter – This is the leavening agent for your sourdough bread. Use bubbly, active starter that has been fed 4 – 8 hours prior.

Water – Filtered water

Pesto – I like to use the basil pesto from Costco, or you can make your own! Just make sure it’s not excessively oily, you really want the flavor from the herbs more than the oil.

Flour – Organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour.

Salt – We use pink Himalayan salt in the majority or our recipes but use what you have.

Mozzarella – Shredded mozzarella. If you want the cheese to be extra melty, shred it yourself. The pre-shredded cheese is coated with a chemical that prevents it from sticking, which makes it less “melty”.

👩‍🍳 How to Make Pesto Mozzarella Sourdough Loaf

  • In the morning, feed your sourdough starter.
  • In the afternoon, assemble your dough by whisking together your bubbly starter, water and pesto in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix together until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with a damp tea towel or bowl cover and let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • After resting, pull the sides of the dough up and towards the middle, rotating the bowl each time until a semi – smooth dough forms. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Perform 2 – 4 sets of stretch and folds anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour apart. The more stretch and folds you do, the more the gluten will develop inside the dough.
  • Cover with damp tea towel or bowl cover and let rest on the counter overnight for the bulk fermentation (8-10hours).
  • The next morning, turn your dough over onto a clean work surface and stretch out into a rectangle, careful not to tear the dough.
  • Sprinkle ¾ cup of the shredded cheese all over the surface of the stretched dough. Fold the shorter ends of the dough over and towards the middle. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the folded parts of the dough.
  • Shape your dough into the size of your banneton (oval – batard, circle – boule).
  • Place your shaped dough seam side up inside your banneton and carefully pinch the middle of the dough together (stitch) from the top, all the way down to the bottom.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat a Dutch oven at 475 degrees for at least 20 minutes.
  • Turn your dough over onto a piece of parchment paper or a bread mat. Using a sharp bread lame, score your bread and carefully place into your hot Dutch oven. Place the lid on top and bake at 475 for 23 minutes.
  • After 23 minutes, remove the lid, drop the heat of the oven to 450 and bake for an additional 23 minutes.
  • Transfer your bread to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving! Enjoy with a delicious herb butter.

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • Shredding the cheese yourself ensures you have extra melty cheese inside your loaf.
  • Make sure you’re using the bulk of the herbs in your pesto, and not as much of the oil.
  • Wet your fingers while doing the stretch and folds so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.

🗒 Bakers Schedule

9am: feed your sourdough starter a 1:3:3 ratio

6pm: assemble your dough – (starter + water + pesto + flour + salt)

7pm: stretch and fold.

8pm: stretch and fold.

9pm: stretch and fold.

10pm: (optional) stretch and fold.

7am: add cheese and shape your dough.

7:30 am: place dough into the fridge

(If you want bread for lunch, preheat the oven at 10:30am and bake at 11am. If you want bread for dinner, preheat your oven at 3:30pm and bake at 4pm)


🗒 Substitutions

You can substitute the pesto for either homemade, or your favorite store-bought brand. I highly recommend the basil pesto from Costco! It’s delicious, vibrant and has the perfect ratio of herbs to oil.

If you want to switch out the cheese, you can add whatever shredded cheese you like! Or even slices of brie cheese 🙂

  • Pesto
  • Cheese


🗒 Best served with

  • Breakfast – avocado toast
  • Lunch – cold cut sandwiches.
  • Dinner – side of pasta a la vodka or fettucine alfredo

👝 How to Store Leftovers

You can slice the loaf and place the slices into a Ziplock bag and into the freezer for up to three months. Or place in an airtight container on the counter, in a bread box or the pantry for up to three days. If you’re eating leftover bread a couple days after you made it, I recommend warming it up in a 350-degree oven with a drizzle of olive oil on top to bring it back to life.

slices pesto bread
5 from 8 votes

Pesto and Mozzarella Sourdough Loaf

Print Recipe
This sourdough loaf looks and smells just as good as it tastes. The dough is filled with a delicious and aromatic basil pesto, naturally leavened with sourdough starter, then stuffed with melty mozzarella cheese. It's a loaf for any and all occasions.
Prep Time:3 hours
Cook Time:50 minutes
Fermenting Time:10 hours
Total Time:13 hours 50 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 100 grams sourdough starter
  • 350 grams filtered water
  • 75 grams pesto
  • 520 grams all-purpose flour
  • 8 grams salt
  • 1 – 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • In the morning, feed your sourdough starter.
  • In the afternoon, assemble your dough by whisking together your bubbly starter, water and pesto in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix together until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with a damp tea towel or bowl cover and let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • After resting, pull the sides of the dough up and towards the middle, rotating the bowl each time until a semi – smooth dough forms. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Perform 2 – 4 sets of stretch and folds anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour apart. The more stretch and folds you do, the more the gluten will develop inside the dough.
  • Cover with damp tea towel or bowl cover and let rest on the counter overnight for the bulk fermentation (8-10hours).
  • The next morning, turn your dough over onto a clean work surface and stretch out into a rectangle, careful not to tear the dough.
  • Sprinkle ¾ cup of the shredded cheese all over the surface of the stretched dough. Fold the shorter ends of the dough over and towards the middle. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the folded parts of the dough.
  • Shape your dough into the size of your banneton (oval – batard, circle – boule).
  • Place your shaped dough seam side up inside your banneton and carefully pinch the middle of the dough together (stitch) from the top, all the way down to the bottom.
  • Cover and place into the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
  • When you're ready to bake, preheat a Dutch oven at 475 degrees for at least 20 minutes.
  • Turn your dough over onto a piece of parchment paper or a bread mat. Using a sharp bread lame, score your bread and carefully place into your hot Dutch oven. Place the lid on top and bake at 475 for 23 minutes.
  • After 23 minutes, remove the lid, drop the heat of the oven to 450 and bake for an additional 23 minutes.
  • Transfer your bread to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving! Enjoy with a delicious herb butter.

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 611mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Artisan, Inclusions, Sourdough, Starter, Stuffed Sourdough
Servings: 8
Calories: 347kcal

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

      1. It’s almost as if no matter how much I add it’s good for a minute, but once I knead more by hand it’s back to wet and sticky and holding no shape.

  1. Can you substitute bread flour for all purpose?
    My dough came out super wet and sticky. No matter how many coil folds I did, it did not feel like it was gaining structure. Any tips?

    1. Bread flour is higher in protein and absorbs more hydration, so if your dough is too sticky or wet bread flour would be an awesome substitute!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this bread! The dough was great to work with. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for the great recipe! I have been looking for a pesto sourdough recipe and yours is amazing! I just wish I had tomatoes to make a caprese sandwich!

  4. 5 stars
    I just sliced into this. The crust and the crumb are beautiful. It’s a big loaf. I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow!

  5. 5 stars
    Two of the best things in a bread! Husband and I can’t eat a whole loaf at a time so baked in two smaller loaves, about the same amount of total time. Added a little extra pesto too. Soo yummy!