Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Braid

This is a fun way to trade up your traditional pizza night. I always make two when I do this because they freeze well for my husband to take for lunch or for me to reheat another night for a quick dinner.

Begin with your favorite pizza dough. I made a double batch of my garlic breadstick dough. Each braid takes the same amount of dough as one pizza.

Roll out into long rectangles  - about as long as a jelly roll pan.

Spread with a little pizza sauce down the center.

Add your favorite pizza toppings. I made one with pepperoni and olives and one with sausage and olives. We also like using Ranch dressing in place of the sauce and adding chopped ham, bacon bits,green onions, and diced tomatoes. Feel free to get creative here. If you like it on pizza, you'll like it in this recipe.

Top with a little shredded cheese.

Use kitchen scissors to cut around the edges as shown, going in only as far as the sauce.

Tuck in one piece at a time, alternating sides as you would with a braid. Be sure to tuck the ends in well.

Place both loaves on a jelly roll pan. Allow to rise about 10 minutes. Bake at 350° F for 25–30 minutes. If browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil before baking the final 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping if desired. To freeze: Remove from oven after 25 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool. Wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap and freeze. To use frozen loaf: Thaw and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350° F for 10–15 minutes or until heated through.

Brush with melted butter after removing from the oven to keep the crust nice and soft.

Slice and enjoy!

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