I haven’t been this excited about something since the last time I saw the words “Honey Boo Boo“ on my DVR. I may or may not have made the claim in last week’s newsletter that the recipe I was posting today is my new favorite recipe on the site … of all time. In existence. Ever.
Allow me to introduce you to Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread, featuring 20 layers of homemade dough sandwiched together with tangy tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and pepperoni slices, which are then stacked and brushed with melted garlic butter. Are you still with me?
What more could you need in a back-to-school (or in my case, back-to-football season) snack? While developing this recipe, I shared the below snap on Instagram as a quick tip for getting bread to rise: Turn your dryer into an at-home proofing box! Simply run your dryer for a few minutes then shut it off. Place your covered bowl of dough inside and shut the door.
Soon enough the Interwebs lit up with excitement and countless other suggestions for the perfect warm, dark places for getting a rise (sorry, I had to) out of your dough. I filed this recipe under the “Foods I Could Eat My Body Weight In” category, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread
Yield: Makes one 9-inch loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours (includes proofing)
Cook Time: 30 min
For the dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 envelope)
1/3 cup whole milk
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the toppings:
1/2 cup pizza or marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup sliced pepperoni
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 2 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt and yeast. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the milk and 6 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted. Remove the saucepan from the stove and stir in the water. Let set until it reaches 120-130ºF.
Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients, using a spatula to fold them together just until combined.
Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and knead the dough on low speed until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, kneading in between each addition so that the eggs are fully incorporated.
Stop the mixer and add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, kneading it on low speed until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 3 more tablespoons flour and knead just until the dough is soft, but still slightly sticky.
Lightly flour your work surface, and then turn the dough out onto the surface, kneading it 5 or 6 times just until it comes together into a ball.
Lightly grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and secure it tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to proof in a warm, dry place for one hour, or until it doubles in size. (See Kelly's Notes.)
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a rectangle measuring roughly 20"x11". Brush the dough with the sauce, sprinkle it with the cheese and top it with the pepperoni. (See Kelly's Notes.)
Trim the edges, discarding any scraps, to make straight sides along the rectangle.
Cut the rectangle (width-wise) into 5 equal strips. Stack the strips atop one another and then cut the strips into 4 equal parts to make a total of 20 squares. (See Kelly's Notes.)
Lightly butter a 9"x5" loaf pan. Stack the squares against each other, cut-sides down. (There will be extra space on both sides.) Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it proof for 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 350FºF.
Stir together the melted butter and minced garlic.
Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake it for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, brush the top of the loaf with the garlic butter, and then return it to the oven to continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before turning the loaf out onto a serving plate.
One of the most effective ways I've found to proof any type of bread is to run my dryer for a few minutes, and then shut it off and place the covered bowl of dough inside. Shut the dryer door and voila! Your very own warm, dark proofing box.
Feel free to get creative with your toppings, opting for any combination of your usual favorites, such as olives, peppers, sausage, etc.
It helps to have a very sharp knife or pizza wheel for cutting the dough into strips and squares.
Dough recipe adapted from Chez Us.