Thanks to the excellent recommendation of my friend Heather, this recipe has become a regular in our house! Delicious as a dinner or an appetizer, it’s a nice change from traditional pizza. It may look fancy, but it’s actually not difficult at all.
BRAIDED PIZZA BREAD
In your bread machine, add the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1. Mix ingredients on the “dough” setting (this usually takes around 90 minutes, so you’ll want to plan accordingly).
2. Remove dough from pan and divide in half. The dough will be sticky; flour it generously to be able to work with it. Roll each half into a rectangle, pressing the dough between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick.
3. Layer pizza (or other) toppings down the center, according to your family’s tastes. (In this example, I layered pepperoni, then topped it with sauce and cheese, but you can make it as complicated as you like!)
4. Cut 1″ thick strips on each side of the toppings.
5. Braid the dough by alternately bringing each strip to the center of the toppings, beginning from the top. Fold any extra dough underneath the loaf.
6. Transfer both loaves carefully to a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing as bread will be very hot.
Along with our toppings, we like to use this recipe for Way Easy Pizza Sauce to give the bread a little zing. It will make enough for 2 batches, so I freeze half of it and use it for next time! I’ve amended the recipe slightly from the original to give it a little more flavor:
6 oz tomato paste
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic or garlic salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- No bread machine? Check out your local thrift store, a garage sale, Craigslist – or ask a friend! There are plenty of well-intentioned bread machine owners who are looking to pass one along. You can usually find one for around $5!
- The ideas for ingredients are endless. You can just as easily add ham and cheese for a fun braided sub, or chicken fajita, taco or philly cheesesteak fixings for a new twist! We usually make 2 different pizza bread loaves each time – with different toppings to suit our family’s preferences!
- You can prepare the pizza bread ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator before baking. It can also be baked and frozen (though it never makes it to the freezer in our house).
- I like to schedule pizza bread the day after we grill chicken or have other meat leftovers as a creative way to use up toppings. Extra bacon or sausage from breakfast will get chopped and frozen to return as pizza toppings. We also buy a turkey ham chunk from Aldi every month or two, cut the meat into cubes and freeze it. Having chopped toppings on hand makes everything easier! The veggie tray from your last party can become part of tomorrow’s pizza bread, too!