This weekend I was craving something I can remember from my childhood: pepperoni bread! I began my hunt for the best possible recipe, but alas! Just about everything said to buy frozen bread dough and flatten that out. That just wasn't satisfying, however, so I decided it's time to make the bread from scratch!
- 6 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
- 1 medium diced onion
- 2 1/2 cups grated mozzerella cheese
- 1 package pepperoni
- dried oregano
In a large mizing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Make sure to crush the brown sugar in the bowl o it spread out evenly instead of in clumps. In a separate bowl, combine water, buttermilk, honey, and yeast until dissolved, then add melted butter and pour into the dry mixture. If you have a stand mixer, consider yourself lucky. Use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. If you're like me, and are mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for about two minutes. Let the dough rest for about five minutes.
With a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand for three minutes (at this point I ditched the spoon and started kneading with my hands.) Adjust with flour or liquid as needed. The dough should be soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Add the onions and mix on the lowest speed or again by hand for abou 1 minute until the onions are evenly distributed.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes to make any final adjustments then form into a ball.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, clean bowl then cover with plastic wrap. If you want to save this to finish in the future, refrigerate for overnight or up to 4 days. The dough should double in size. If you want to continue making it that day, let the dough sit out at room temperature for an hour to an hour and a half until it doubles in size. Punch it (knead it back down for a few minutes) then let it sit for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Dust each piece with flour, then roll them into rectangles. Spread about 1/4 the cheese over the surface of each rectange, sprinkle on some oregano, layer on the pepperoni, then roll the dough up like a rug to form a log. Seal the seam with your fingertips.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, then place the logs in and place the sheet pans in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans. This should take about 50 minutes in total. The bread is done when it's a deep golden brown and its internal temperature is about 185 degrees.
Remove the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes or more before slicing and serving.