My Parmesan ramp wreath bread has layers of heady ramp pesto and Parmesan layered between warm, buttery dough. Serve it with leftover ramp pesto or a generous smear of salted butter for the perfect breakfast.
Lately ramps take center stage in our kitchen. They go into a lot of pasta, soup, tart, and scones. One recipe that our family has really enjoyed is my Parmesan ramp wreath bread. With layers of heady ramp pesto and Parmesan layered between warm, buttery dough this Parmesan ramp wreath bread makes a wonderful, savory breakfast.
How to Make the Bread Dough
For this Parmesan ramp wreath bread, I start with a yeasted dough that’s enriched with whole milk, eggs, and butter. Similar bread that utilize rich dough are donuts, cinnamon rolls, babka, and star bread. When working with yeast, it’s important to keep the temperature of the milk below 110℉ or the yeast will die. Instant dry yeast or active dry yeast works for this recipe but the rise time will take a little longer if you use the latter. Always check the expiration date on your yeast package otherwise the yeast might be old and the dough won’t rise properly.
The dough requires two proving steps. After the dough is made, leave it in a warm spot in your kitchen to rise for 2 hours. Once it doubles in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles and let it prove overnight, about 8 hours, in the fridge to develop flavor. Letting the dough prove overnight in the fridge will save you a lot of time the next day.
How to Make the Ramp Pesto
For the pesto, I adapted the recipe from my ramp hazelnut pesto but switched out the hazelnuts for pine nuts and eliminated the Parmesan. I kept it simple with ramps, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. Everything went into the food processor and pulsed until well blended. You can also make the pesto with a mortar and pestle but that takes more work.
How to Assemble the Wreath Bread
Assembling the Parmesan ramp wreath bread can be a lot of fun. Keeping the dough chill makes the job a bit easier. Whenever I feel the dough is too soft to handle, I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Roll the dough out to a 22 by 10 inch rectangle. Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a ¾ inch border and top it with grated Parmesan cheese. If you don't like Parmesan, cheddar or Gruyere is a great alternative.
How to Shape the Wreath Bread
Roll up the dough from the longer side so that you end up with a 22-inch log. Use a sharp knife to halve the log along its length to expose the layers. Place the halves with the cut side up and use your hands to twist the strands together and form a braid. Try to braid it as tightly as possible. You should have one long braid when you’re done.
To shape the braided dough into a wreath, curve the ends around to meet and squeeze them together to join firmly but as neatly as possible.
How Long to Bake the Bread
The Parmesan ramp wreath bread goes into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.
This Parmesan ramp wreath bread is so delicious still warm from the oven. It's soft, cheesy, garlicky, and everything you would want in a savory bread. I like to dip it in the leftover ramp pesto or enjoy it with a generous smear of salted butter. Make this delightful savory wreath bread while ramps are still in season!
Parmesan ramp wreath bread
- 1 package instant yeast
- 2 tbsps granulated sugar
- ¾ cup milk, warmed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 6 unsalted butter, melted
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing
- 1 ½ cups Parmesan, freshly grated
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 ½ cups ramp leaves, washed, and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour milk in a small bowl and warm it in the microwave until lukewarm. Make sure the max temperature is 105-110 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and give it a quick stir before adding the yeast. Let mixture sit for 8 to 10 minutes, until foamy.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt, butter, and egg yolks and stir until combined.
- Add in the yeast mixture until the dough comes together in a soft mass, about 5 minutes. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together, beating very well in between additions. Continue beating until the dough is smooth and stretchy, another 5 minutes.
- Oil a clean bowl, form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so all sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it puffs and rises, about 2 hours. Gently press the dough down with your hands, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- While the dough is proving, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, add the pine nuts, chopped ramps, olive oil, lemon juice to the food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 10×22-inch rectangle. Spread ¾ cup of pesto, leaving a ¾ inch border. Sprinkle the cheese over the pesto.
- Roll up tightly from one of the longer sides, so that you end up with a 22-inch log. If the dough has softened too much for you to handle it, place on a tray and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into half lengthways. Turn the halves so the cut sides face out.
- Place the halves with the cut sides facing upwards. Lift one halved log over the other so that they form a cross at their midpoints, with the filling layers still pointing upwards. Continue to twist the strands over each other until the dough looks like a braid.
- To form a wreath, twist the two lengths together. Form the twist length into a ring, pressing the two ends together to join.
- Transfer the wreath carefully onto a baking tray. Place the tray in the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake the wreath bread at 350°F for 32-35 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Let the wreath bread cool for 15 minutes before serving with salted butter or leftover pesto.
You can make the pesto a day ahead. Transfer the pesto to a glass container and store in the coldest part of your fridge for up to a week. Or you can freeze the pesto and thaw it when needed.
- Anytime the dough has softened too much for you to handle it, place on a tray and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Baked wreath bread can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 week. Rewarm them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees F before serving.