Bakers time: 4 hours My time: 4 hours
I get to make bread again, and it has to be delicious AND pretty. And have a filling. I considered this bake a long time before attempting it. What is considered “filled” anyway? How much filling? Would cinnamon swirl bread count? Did the filling have to be completely enclosed? I re-watched the episode several times in order to closely observe every baker’s dish. Most had a meat or cheese filling, but a few had desserts. And having the filling showing didn’t seem to be a dealbreaker.
I was so thrilled to stumble across this recipe from King Arthur Flour, which is stunning, and I thought would translate well to what I wanted to make. In fact, it’s so pretty I may make all my bread look like this from now own. At least, the ones with fillings.
In the end, inspired by the tomato and basil in the King Arthur recipe (and frankly, because I knew it would get eaten), I decided I would do pizza!
This loaf starts with a basic white bread loaf – flour, salt, yeast, but also milk, egg, and a bit of sugar. Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I decided to “proof” the yeast – dissolve it in liquid with a bit of the sugar in order to make sure it’s alive – before adding it to the mix. I primarily wanted to make sure this yeast was good, after I’d had so much trouble with the ciabatta – so that step is optional!
Have I mentioned how pretty I think a nice ball of dough looks?
Once the dough had doubled, I punched it down and attempted to do as the recipe said, and stretch it to a 22×18 rectangle. I missed a very important step though, to let the dough rest before stretching. Apparently this “relaxes the gluten” so its easier to stretch/roll. I definitely recommend doing that, as I really struggled to roll this out.
I put about 1/4 c. of pizza sauce on the rolled out dough. I probably could have put another 1/4 c. on there, but I went easy for this first time.
I added the remaining ingredients and rolled the dough along the long edge, pinching the seam. Now for the tricky part.
In order to get the beautiful, intricately layered S shape, you need to take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut about 3/4 down – leaving about 1/2 inch on either end uncut. Basically, you take one end and curve it towards the center and tuck it under. And then take the other end and curve the opposite direction, tucking under.
It’s super simple despite the imposing look, and makes a gorgeous little loaf.
I sprinkled a little pizza seasoning over the entire loaf, and pressed some into the sides and crevices. If I’d really been thinking I would have rolled the log of dough in the seasoning before I cut and shaped it, but this worked fine.
After a second rise, bake. I did let it rise just a little too long the second time through, because I was busy fixing dinner. It got a little bloated in the oven, but was still very pretty.
Now, I do believe if I had gone all in with the sauce it would have been awesome and bubbly and more pizza-like. But it was pretty great as it was. I recommend serving straight from the oven for tastiest results, with heated pizza sauce on the side for dipping.
|3c bread flour||1/4-1/2c pizza sauce|
|2tsp instant yeast||1/2c pepperoni|
|1 1/4tsp saltt||3/4c mozzerella or pizza cheese of choice|
|1 large egg||2tsp pizza seasoning|
|1/2c lukewarm milk|
|1/3c lukewarm water|
|3tbsp olive oil|
|pizza seasoning (for outside)|
- Make the dough by combining these ingredients (except the seas into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix for 6-8 minutes to knead. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a bowl sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and form into a square-ish ball.Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so to relax the gluten.
- Stretch or roll the dough out to a large rectangle, aiming for about 22 inches by 8 inches.
- Spread the dough with the pizza toppings. You don’t want to overfill it, but I found you could be a little on the generous side.Roll the dough along the long edge, so you have a long rope of dough, and pinch the seam to seal it. I also sealed the ends.
- Sprinkle some of the pizza seasoning onto the workspace and roll the rope lightly over so that the spices press lightly into the outside. Put the rope seam down on your baking pan (I also recommend parchment paper).
- Leaving about a half inch on either end, use scissors to cut down into the loaf about 1 inch along the length.
- Twist the top half of the rope into a loop with the end tucked under the middle. Now, twist the bottom half to loop the opposite direction, making a figure 8.
- Cover and let rise again until it has doubled again. Preheat your oven to 350.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. After the first 25 minutes, cover the bread with foil in order to prevent your cheese from burning and the bread from over-browning.
Cool on a wire rack, but try and enjoy it while it’s still warm! Serving suggestion: Take some of the leftover pizza sauce from your filling, heat, and serve alongside. Yum!