a photo of a bread in the form of an eight-pointed star

Gluten-free Pesto Star Bread Recipe

I was inspired to cook this for a recent recipe club dinner on the theme of “in pieces”. It is based on a non-gluten-free recipe from the Woolworths site. However, since I had to tweak it a little, and others may also be interested, I’m putting my version here.


  • 200 mL of milk
  • 3 teaspoons (15 mL) of caster sugar
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs (2 initially, then 1 later)
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 410g of GF bread flour – I use Well & Good Crusty Bread Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of table salt
  • small jar of basil pesto – I use Barilla Genovese Pesto
  • 50g of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • small sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese


  1. Put milk in a microwave safe jug and warm on low power until tepid. Stir in caster sugar, then stir in the yeast. Set aside for 5-10 mins until it is clear that the yeast has activated (it becomes frothy).
  2. Break two of the eggs into a glass or cup and beat a little.
  3. Cube the butter and leave to soften.
  4. Put bread flour, salt, eggs, and the milk-yeast mixture into the bowl of a mixer, and using a dough hook, knead on low speed for 2 minutes until everything is combined. Up the speed a notch and knead for up to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. You may need to stop the mixer a couple of times to rearrange the dough if the dough hook isn’t doing its job.
  5. If butter isn’t soft by this point, place it on a microwave-safe plate and give it some zaps at low power. Don’t get it to the point it is melting.
  6. While the mixer is running, add the butter a cube at a time, ensuring it is well combined before adding more. Let the mixer run for another 5 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat (fan-forced) oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  8. Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl under a tea-towel or plastic cover, in a warm place, until it has doubled. It may take 30-60 minutes.
  9. Place baking paper on a large tray, e.g. a pizza tray. Cut the dough-ball into four – there should be about 200g in each quarter.
  10. With each dough quarter, place it between two pieces of baking paper, and roll into a flat circle. It doesn’t need to be absolutely circular. Place it onto the large tray, so you eventually create a stack. However, note the following step:
  11. For the first three such circles, spread sparingly a tablespoon (~15 mL) of pesto across the surface, leaving a small (1-2 cm) border without pesto. Sprinkle a third of the mozzarella cheese across the top.
  12. You now have a round stack of four flat dough layers with pesto and cheese between each layer. Place an upturned drinking glass (about 7 cm diameter) in the middle, and cut outward in radiating lines so that there are 16 even strips. The video on the Woolworths recipe page is worth a watch at this point. Remove the glass.
  13. With the remaining egg, break it into a glass or cup and beat a little. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg onto the border of the top layer.
  14. With pairs of adjacent strips, twist them in opposite directions and then push the tips together (that had been brushed with the egg) to join them, making a point of the star.
  15. Brush the remaining egg across the dough surface.
  16. Place the dough star in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
  17. Remove, and sprinkle grated parmesan across the bread.
  18. Ideally serve within a couple of hours of baking, but will keep in an air-tight container for another day.

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