I had this whole story typed out about this awesome pepperoni roll I ate as a child, how my papa would get them for my brothers and I after practice. Then, this favorite pizza parlor of mine had closed. :( Sad day really. They had the Best in town. No lie. Anyhow, I have always made "homemade" pepperoni rolls. But they consisted of frozen bread dough, that's what we did growing up. One day, when I was making my homemade Italian bread (recipe posted), a light bulb went off.. And after a few practice runs, I found Giuseppe's rolls. Yay!! Trust me, this recipe is worth the time & effort!
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Yes, this is a labor intensive recipe. But one bite of these and you'll see it was well worth the effort! I love the cheesy pepperoni flavor. A good one for your next party.
DOUGH (MY OLD WORLD ITALIAN BREAD RECIPE)
all purpose flour
fast-rising active dry yeast
warm water (110 degrees f)
egg white, slightly beaten
(approximately) extra virgin olive oil
italian seasoning, approximately 1/2 tablespoon each pepperoni roll)
1Directions for preparing dough are the same as if making the Italian Bread...
In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, yeast, and warm water. Make sure water is 110 degrees F. If too hot, you'll kill the yeast. If too cold, the yeast won't activate. Gently mix together & allow to proof for 10-15 minutes. (proofing is allowing the yeast to activate, you'll see small bubbles come to the surface of water mixture. This lets you know that the yeast is activating) If it does not proof, re-start with new yeast.
2In a separate bowl, add 4 cups of flour and salt. Blend well then add to the water/yeast and mix with a dough hook. Beat at low speed for about 3-4 minutes, make sure to scrape the sides and mix into the dough. Cover bowl with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
3Gradually add in the remaining 3 cups of flour to make a stiff dough. You may have to knead by hand. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Kneading will take approximately 15 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl, turning dough to coat complete surface of dough. Cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft free space to allow dough to rise until doubled in size. Approximately an hour.
TIP: I PLACE MY DOUGH IN THE OVEN ON TOP RACK. IN A LARGE SHALLOW PAN, FILL WITH BOILING WATER AND PLACE ON BOTTOM RACK OF OVEN. CLOSE OVEN, AND ALLOW DOUGH TO RISE. DO NOT TURN OVEN ON
4*** This is where the directions are different from making the bread! :)
When dough has doubled in size, turn out onto lightly floured surface and punch down. Divide dough into 8 even balls. place back into greased bowl, cover and allow to rise again for 15 minutes, doubling in size again.
5Once doubled, remove one "ball" of dough at a time. (Work on one at a time) Turn out onto floured surface and roll about 14" x 8" oblong. It doesn't have to be pretty or perfect.
6Now the fun stuff! using a basting brush, brush a light coat of olive oil onto dough. Sprinkle Italian seasoning evenly over rolled out dough. About 1/2 tablespoon. More or less if you so desire.
Next, from top (short side), lay first layer of pepperoni from left to right. below pepperoni, layer provolone cheese, then another pepperoni, them mozzarella. Leave about one inch space from edge of dough to filling. Make sure it's nice and full of pepperoni and cheese.
Then: roll... lengthwise. after one roll, gently fold in the sides, and roll two more times. to seal the edge.. wet fingers with water and place on lip of dough, press against roll.
7Place roll seam side down on greased cookie sheet. (two rolls per sheet) Make diagonal slices in top of dough with sharp knife about two inches apart.
** can use wax paper too for easy clean up! Just remove rolls from wax paper lined cookie sheet immediately when done baking.
Do this with each roll.
8whisk together egg white and water. Brush each roll with egg wash over the top and sides. Again, cover lightly and allow to rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size. About 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
9When ready to bake, remove cover. Place large shallow pan filled with boiling water in the bottom rack of the oven. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Halfway through baking, brush with egg wash on top and sides of dough again.
Serve with your favorite marinara or pasta sauce.
Great for game day appetizers. These freeze very well, so they are great for a "make ahead" meal to grab and go! I even make them without the pepperoni and lots of cheese for my vegetarian!
An absolute favorite for my husband's lunches. Of course, I have to make them for the whole construction crew! But I make smaller ones if doing that to get more rolls! :)