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Feb 16, 2019

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns filled with almond basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, and topped with Parmesan cheese. 

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns

The dough for these pesto and cheese buns is from the recipe for the Chelsea bun Christmas tree by Paul Hollywood in the Great British Baking Show introduced to the Bread Baking Babes by My Kitchen in Half Cups. See her post for how to bake along.

The original buns are filled with all kinds of Christmas-y fillings such as mincemeat, apples, pears, nuts, candied citrus peel, and topped with jam, nuts, and cocktail cherries. Fortunately, we were allowed to fill the buns with anything we wanted.

I toyed with lots of ideas for bun fillings, including apples, cheese and ham, spinach and cheese, cream cheese and jam, pizza flavorings, or caramelized onions and cheese ... as you can see I was all over the place.

I settled on pesto with mozzarella cheese. First, it was super easy, second, I had all of the ingredients on hand, and third, it sounded delicious.

By the way, for a sweet bun that is not a cinnamon bun, be sure to check out these cranberry breakfast buns. Delicious!

How to Assemble the Pesto and Mozzarella Buns:

First, you roll the risen dough out into a 20 inch by 14 inch rectangle. Next, you spread 6 ounces of the pesto of your choice over the dough. I used store bought pesto from a deli, but you can make your own if you prefer. 

Next you sprinkle the grated cheese over the pesto. I used a combination of Gruyère and mozzarella, but you can use either one. Then, starting on a longer side, roll the dough up into a log. 

Pesto and mozzarella bun dough

Cut the log into 15 equal slices, about 1 1/2 inch wide, and arrange them in one large pan or two smaller pans. I used my favorite serrated bread knife to slice the dough, and a 14 inch round deep dish pizza pan for baking.

I did not form them into a Christmas tree!

Pesto and mozzarella bun rounds

Brush the tops of the buns with olive oil and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese. Let them rise again, and bake for about 30 minutes.

If you don't have a deep dish pizza pan, you could use three 8 or 9 inch round or square cake pans or one half sheet pan. I kind of guessed at the size of the pan. You want to arrange them with just enough space between them that they will grow together when they are baked.

Pesto and mozzarella buns in a pan

The dough for these buns is a dream to work with and the buns are delicious. They are great fresh from the oven. If you have leftover rolls, you can reheat them by wrapping them in foil in the oven. The leftovers are almost as delicious.

Feel free to use any cheese you like or any filling you like. The dough can be used with either sweet or savory fillings and toppings.

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns filled with almond basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, and topped with Parmesan cheese. #buns #cheese #pesto #rolls #bread

More filling ideas:

  1. Cinnamon sugar
  2. Sun dried tomato pesto
  3. Pizza flavored fillings (sauce, pepperoni, and cheese)
  4. Ham and cheese
  5. Apple cinnamon
  6. Cheese and chorizo
  7. Sweetened cream cheese and jam
  8. Cheese and onions
  9. Calzone fillings
  10. Raisins and cinnamon
Use your imagination!

buns, bread, pesto, cheese, mozzarella
bread, rolls, buns
Yield: 15 buns

Pesto and Mozzarella Buns


For the Dough
  • 800 grams (28 ounces) bread flour
  • 17 grams (scant tablespoon) salt
  • 15 grams instant yeast
  • 400 ml (1 2/3 cup) milk
  • 60 grams (about 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs 
For the Filling
  • 170 grams (6 ounces) pesto of your choice. I used almond and basil pesto, which also includes olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
  • 200 to 250 grams freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 35 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt on one side and the yeast on the other side. 
  2. Heat the milk and the butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted. The mixture should be lukewarm (about 100 degrees F). 
  3. Pour the milk and butter mixture into the bowl with the flour, add the eggs, and stir the dough with a Danish dough whisk or large spatula. 
  4. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and mix on second speed with the dough hook for about 7 minutes, until you have a smooth dough. The dough should be slightly sticky. You can also knead by hand. 
  5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise, covered, for about an hour, until doubled.
  6. Roll the dough out into a 20 inch by 14 inch rectangle with a long side facing you. 
  7. Spread the pesto over the dough. 
  8. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle the rest evenly over the pesto. 
  9. Roll up the dough into a tight log and slice it into 15 equal rounds, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Arrange the rounds on a large pan (or 2 to 3 smaller pans) about 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until puffy. They may not be touching. They will rise more in the oven. In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  10. When they are ready to bake, brush the tops of the rounds lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan and reserved Mozzarella cheese. 
  11. Bake the buns for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

Today is the 11th anniversary of the Bread Baking Babes! I've been a member for almost four years.

More Bread Baking Babes' Chelsea buns:

Would you like to comment?

  1. This is what I call worth the wait! I was looking forward to this post, an yes, as amazing as I expected!

    wonderful bake!

  2. Those look scrumptious! Love the list of filling ideas you added too.

    1. Thanks Kelly! I had so many ideas before settling on the pesto.

  3. They look perfect! And delicious too. How on earth did you get the dough so thin and the spirals so uniform? I bow down to you, Karen.

    I had a lot of difficulty deciding what filling to use too and left it to the eleventh hour to decide. I'm so sorry that I didn't even think of pesto. Or rosemary and walnuts. Duh.... Next time.

    1. I used a rolling pin to finish rolling out the dough. It really helped, and I used a ruler to measure before slicing, ha ha.

      Your fillings sound delicious!

  4. They look soooo good! I like sweet - but I love savory. And the filling stayed where it belonged! Well done!

  5. Where do the eggs get mixed in? They're in the ingredients, but not the instructions.

    1. Right after the milk mixture. I'll fix that!

  6. Oops....and where does the 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese go?

    1. Oh shoot. It's sprinkled over the top with the Parmesan. I'll fix that too! I'm usually better than this =)


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