Stuffed Pizza Bread

makes 2 loaves of pizza bread

You can make the dough the day before, let it rise and then refrigerate it.  Bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.  For the tomato sauce, just use whatever you like for pizza sauce.  I used my favorite pureed San Marzano tomatoes.  You can use a good canned tomato sauce, tomato puree, pizza sauce or even a marinara sauce if you want. Because you are using instant yeast, there is no need for a proofing step.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon instant (fast acting) yeast, like Rapid Rise
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
2½ cups flour (I used half AP flour and half bread flour)

for the pepperoni filling:
4 ounces pepperoni
½ cup tomato sauce
3 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded mozzarella

for the sausage filling:
½ pound sausage (I used turkey sausage)
¾ cup diced onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ teaspoon red hot chili pepper 
salt and pepper
½ cup tomato sauce
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced

for the topping:
1 egg
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional) 

Instructions:

Make the dough:  In a large bowl, add the water, yeast, salt and oil.  Blend.  Add most of the flour, reserving about ¾ cup.  Blend well.  I like to use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook for this.  Alternatively, you can use a heavy wooden spoon. Slowly add the rest of the flour in until you get a dough that doesn't stick to the sides or bottom of the bowl.  Add more flour, by tablespoon, until you get the right texture for the dough - not too dry, but not too sticky.  You can take it out of the bowl and finish it on the counter, kneading it to get the right feel.  You will know the dough is done when it is not so sticky that it comes off on your hands but when it still feels slightly moist, like Play-Dough.  Put it in a clean bowl that has been sprayed with a little cooking spray or a teaspoon of olive oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour and a half.  If you are making the dough the day before, just pop it in the fridge at this point. Bring it to room temperature the next day before proceeding.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg with two teaspoons of water until well blended.  Set aside, along with a pastry brush.

For the pepperoni pizza:  My husband likes the pepperoni to be roasted before I assemble this bread. You don't have to do this, but it's a nice touch because it crisps up the pepperoni.  If you want to do this, just line a baking sheet with foil and roast the pepperoni for about 6 or 7 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Let cool a little.  Lower oven temp to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll out one half on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to a rectangle, about 15" x 10".  Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Spread the ½ cup tomato sauce on the pizza dough, leaving about an inch perimeter.  Sprinkle the cheese on the sauce and place the pepperoni slices on top.  Fold the ends of the rectangle in slightly and then roll up the long end of the rectangle, forming the loaf.  Try to keep the loaf seam side down.  Brush with some of the egg wash and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds on top. 

For the sausage pizza:  Brown the sausage in a fry pan.  Remove the sausage and drain if there is a lot of fat, but don't wipe out pan.  Fry the onions in the oil gently until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and fry for about one more minute.  Add the sausage, a little salt and pepper to taste and the chili pepper.  Blend well and allow to cool a little.

Roll out the other half of the dough on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to a rectangle, about 15" x 10". Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Spread the ½ cup tomato sauce on the pizza dough, leaving about an inch perimeter.  Lay the mozzarella slices on top and then the sausage mixture.  Fold the ends of the rectangle in slightly and then roll up the long end of the rectangle, forming the loaf.  Try to keep the loaf seam side down.  Brush with some of the egg wash and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds on top. 

Bake the loaves about 25 - 30 minutes at 375 degrees F until golden brown on top.  Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 

The Italian Dish

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