This pull apart pizza bread is so full of flavor you’re going to have a hard time keeping your hands off it. Plus, when you pull a piece of this bread it’s so loaded with cheese you’ve got all that gooey oozy cheese dripping down – irresistible! Oh, and don’t forget all that chopped up pepperoni hanging out with that cheese.
This pull apart pizza bread recipe is a little bit different than that other popular pull apart bread recipe that’s been making its way around the interwebs for the past couple of years. You know, the stacked one. This pizza bread recipe utilized a loaf of milk bread as the delivery system for cheese, pepperoni and garlic butter. It’s quite the tasty combination.
This bread is perfect for your Super Bowl party food list. People can just rip off pieces and munch happy. If you want, you could put out a dish of marinara sauce for dipping, or just leave that out and save your carpets. 😉
The basic milk bread recipe that I use for this is the perfect base for the pizza fixin’s strong flavors. If you’ve never had milk bread, it’s light and fluffy and has a sweet flavor to it. It’s not “bready” (if that makes any sense). That also means your guests will be eating LOTS of this pull apart pizza bread. So you’ll probably want to make a couple of batches of it. Even though it’s bread, it doesn’t feel like it’s sitting in your stomach like a big ball of dough.
This bread takes a little time (for the rise), but it comes together easily in your stand mixer. You can knead the dough old school if you prefer. This pull apart pizza bread recipe didn’t last 5 minutes when I put it out at my husband’s office. (That was round 2…round 1 barely cooled off before we inhaled it.)
- For the Tangzhong
- 6 Tablespoons Water
- 2 Tablespoons Bread Flour
- For the Bread
- ¼ Cup Half and Half
- 1½ Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (1 packet)
- 2¾ Cups Bread Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Half and Half
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Milk Powder
- 1 Large Chicken Egg
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
- For Pizza Stuffing
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 Large Clove Garlic, grated
- ¼ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ¼ Teaspoon Dried Basil
- Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
- Pepperoni Slices, chopped fine
- Add the 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of bread flour to a small saucepan and whisk until no lumps remain. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, while whisking constantly. It will thicken to a gel-like consistency after just a few minutes. As soon as a line stays in the mixture when you run the whisk through it, remove it from the heat. Scrape it into a small, clean bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
- Heat the milk briefly to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the yeast over top of the milk and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes and let the yeast activate (the milk will start to foam a little).
- While the yeast is activating, sift together the bread flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. In another bowl, whisk together the tangzhong (the flour gel you set aside to cool), half and half, powdered milk, and egg.
- After thoroughly whisking the wet ingredients together, add yeast mixture to the wet ingredients. Whisk just enough to incorporate the half and half and yeast. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and begin to mix the dough. You'll have to increase the speed as it mixes. It will eventually pull together into a ball. Or, if you don't want to use the mixer....stir it with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose dough. Begin to knead with your hands for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a semi-smooth ball. The dough will be pretty sticky -- sprinkle flour on your hands and the dough as is necessary while you knead, but try to not to over flour. (One tablespoon of flour should be enough.)
- Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading after each addition. Add the second tablespoon of butter only after the first has been fully incorporated. This step can also be done in the stand mixer. Just push the dough down, make a small hole and drop the butter in. Pat the hole closed and turn on the dough hook. Repeat with second tablespoon. The dough will be slippery and messy, but keep kneading and it should form a soft and pliable dough that’s easy to work with. (It will still be a bit slickery.) Knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large, buttered, bowl with plenty of room and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let proof for 1 to 2 hours, or until well doubled (I needed to let mine proof in the oven for 2 hours to get a good rise). Or you can let the dough proof overnight in the refrigerator. The dough should be fine for up to 24 hours.
- Once the dough is doubled, turn it out and punch it down. Divide it into two equal pieces. For each piece, shape it into an oval. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Let the dough rise again until nearly it’s doubled. About another hour. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To see if the dough is ready, press it gently with one finger; when the indentation bounces back slowly but remains visible, the dough is ready to bake.
- Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. While it's baking, Add the butter, garlic, oregano, and basil to a small dish and melt in the microwave.
- After 10 minutes, pull the tray from the oven and brush the top of the loaves with the garlic butter and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Pull the pan from the oven and carefully make width-wise slices into the loaves (about ½" spacing). Then brush garlic butter into the cuts. Next, fill the cuts with sliced cheese and pepperoni. Brush the top again with the garlic butter and return to the oven.
- Bake bread for another 10 minutes then remove from oven to cool enough to handle it.
- Pull it apart and enjoy!
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