Pesto milk buns

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Pesto milk buns

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner, Chef Nicole Gomes teams up with Kitchen Aid and their trusty Stand Mixer to create a delicious recipe you can recreate at home.


For the pesto:

  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan or grana padano, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the Tangzhong (starter):

  • 3 tablespoons (43g) water
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (14g) bread flour

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups (300g) bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup (40g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (8g) salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (10g) instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk, slightly warmed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (57g) melted unsalted butter (room temp)

For the egg wash: 

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream or water

Directions to make the pesto:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place pine nuts on a small baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Process on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the olive oil. Process until smooth. Taste for salt, and season with more salt if desired.
  5. Set your finished pesto aside.

 Directions to make the Tangzhong (starter):

  1. Combine the water, milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly using a heat-proof rubber spatula or whisk, until thickened, about 3–5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

Directions to make the dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl) whisk together the flour, milk powder, sugar, salt and yeast to combine.
  2. In the medium bowl with the tangzhong, add the milk, egg, melted butter until well combined.
  3.  Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. On low speed, knead together using the dough hook until a dough forms (or knead by hand, or using a bread machine). NOTE: the dough will be very sticky when mixing begins, do not add more flour at this stage; the dough will absorb the excess moisture and come together as the mixing progresses.
  4. Increase the speed to medium-low and continue kneading until a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 20-25 minutes. At this point, the dough should feel tacky (a bit sticky, but not messy or loose) and should easily come together in a tight ball when handled with lightly-oiled hands. If not, knead in one tablespoon of flour at a time. NOTE: A good indication your dough is ready: it should be able to stretch between your hands into a thin film, without breaking right away.
  5. Using lightly-oiled hands, shape the dough into a ball, and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 60-90 minutes.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a work surface (you should not need or use flour). Gently roll the dough into an 18” x 8” rectangle of even thickness.
  7. Spread pesto onto the rectangle, ensuring you get all the way to the ends of the 18” length and leaving 2 inches clear of pesto on the 8” ends. Carefully and snuggly roll the pesto lined dough lengthwise up the 8” length so you get an 18” log.
  8. Spray or grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan. Cut the log into nine 2” buns. Place buns cut side up in the pan evenly spaced apart (3×3).
  9. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the buns to rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy. In the last 10 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350F.
  10. Prepare egg wash by whisking together the egg and heavy cream.
  11. When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap from the pan, then gently brush the buns with the egg wash. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top. A digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle bun should register at least 190F. NOTE: If the tops are browning too quickly, loosely place a piece of foil on top of the buns to prevent further browning.
  12. Remove the buns from the oven, then immediately brush with the 1 tablespoon melted butter.
  13. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently flip them onto a large plate, then onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
All-Stars winner, Chef Nicole Gomes


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