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BIGGER BETTER PIZZA ROLLS
I don't want to mention any names, but I think we have all had our turn with those soggy, greasy, delicious but shameful pockets of "pizza". The ones that microwave in two minutes, become 1,000° F on the edges but cold in the middle especially if you forgot the midway flip. They are a frozen food staple that passes as a snack, or dinner for the young and broke. As a product of the nineties, I love those little nuggets of sauce and cheese. I even enjoy the slightly cold centers, but as I reach full maturity, I find that I need something better, bolder, and soul freaking delicious. These are bigger, better pizza rolls, and they're going to blow your mind.
This recipe is fun to make with a group, or as a mad-scientist solo experiment. It's pizza, which means the options are nearly endless. The dough is handmade from scratch, then rolled up like sweet little cinnamon rolls but with savory toppings instead. I found this recipe on a blog I've never heard of. Grandbaby-Cakes handed me this recipe like a sweet answered prayer, and I'm keeping it forever. I added my own spin on the ingredients because the recipe is almost impossible to mess up. I stuck to a classic red sauce, with smoked sausage and pepperoni, but next time I'm thinking barbecue chicken pizza with minced jalapenos or maybe a roll with an alfredo sauce base.
I know you read homemade dough and you have already decided to buy some refrigerated clay— but hear me out. This dough is simple. I let yeast intimidate me all the time, and this project is supposed to get me and you out of our comfort zones. Make the dough, it's always better than store-bought.
I made the dough twice. Once because I wasn't paying attention. I put my dough in the fridge to chill because I was in pie-mode and that's what you do with pies. Due to spontaneous life moments and surprise dinner dates, the dough sat in the fridge for two days. My instincts were telling me my dough was going to be legendary, and when I turned to the internet for reassurance it said, "your bread is going to be dry, chewy and sour." This is an important lesson in "following directions". The second time I read that the dough rests at room temperature. Both times I made the dough I was surprised by how easily it came together.
All you need is:
2c. Bread flour, or AP flour if that's all you got
2t. Sea salt
1t. Fast-acting dry yeast
1c. Of lukewarm water*
For the dough combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and grab a 1 cup measuring spoon and fill it with lukewarm water.
*The water shouldn't be too hot or cold as extreme temperatures will react with the yeast negatively and your bread will suffer.
Pro-tip: Use your hands. Cooking is all about the senses, use those fingers to mix the dough. This allows you to feel what your dough needs.
I mixed the dry ingredients well, and then grabbed the cup of water and splashed some in the bowl. I continued to mix with my hands to create a shaggy, flaky mix and kept splashing water until my dough could form a loaf. You may not need the whole cup of water. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the loaf.
Once you have a loaf, find a large bowl and spray lightly with baking spray or a thin layer of olive oil inside the bowl. The sides should be greased so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a cloth towel. Let rest for at least 2 hours, "or longer".
I let the dough rest on my counter for three hours. After the dough has rested clear a space to roll it out. Make sure the space is large, clean, and dry before flouring the surface for rolling.
Grab a rolling pin, and rub it with some flour to prevent sticking. I put flour on everything, my hands, the counter, the dough, and the pin. A little will go a long way so don't get too crazy.
Pro-tip: if you don't have a rolling pin because you're new in the kitchen, grab a wine bottle they work just as well.
Cut the dough in half and roll each piece into a rectangular shape.
When you have two decently recognizable rectangles you are ready to make some pizza.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a baking dish or any circular cake pan. Grab the pizza toppings and the sauce.
1c. Pizza sauce
8 oz sweet Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 oz. pepperoni
2c. Shredded mozzarella — next time I'm using more
Parsley for garnish
I prepared my toppings during the last half hour of the dough's proof so everything was timed right. Dollop sauce using a spoon and spread onto the dough evenly. Add your toppings, and finish with cheese.
Now it's time to roll it up as neatly as possible without losing your mind. Remember perfect and pretty aren't the same thing. Take the long side closest to you and begin tucking it in. Go slowly, lightly pushing or lifting as you turn the dough. The end seam should be on the bottom. Give the dough a gentle squish to seal. Repeat with the second loaf. When the loaves are rolled, cut them into slices and place neatly in a greased baking dish. I used a knife, but kitchen twine or unflavored dental floss can work. Try not to scratch your kitchen counter. Spritz the rolls with some baking spray or brush on some oil, garnish with the parsley and pop those in the oven. Bake for 10-17 minutes until golden brown, and the cheese is melted. I think I used the full 17 minutes in my oven.
After baking, relish in your dinner victory and grab a pizza roll. I saved some extra pizza sauce for dipping which worked deliciously. In a house where pizza is always on the menu, these were an instant favorite for my family.
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