Now that the holidays are over, let's take a break from sugar for awhile, shall we? Not a long while; because really, life without chocolate is just too daunting. But the heart of winter is the perfect time to turn to the savory side of baking.
And what, exactly, are Pizza Party Buns? Think cinnamon bun technique, but pizza filling. These light, airy buns are swirled with pepperoni and mozzarella atop a base of marinara sauce, making them the ideal party snack: pizza bun in one hand, favorite beverage in the other, there's no need at all to juggle a plate and flatware.
With plenty of big football games coming up, plus all kinds of other reasons to gather your friends and party, it's time to perfect these Party Pizza Buns — and to share your taste-tempting pictures (#bakealong) with bakers around the country.
Study the following step-by-step directions — then go forth and bake!
Pizza Party Buns bakealong: make the dough
Combine the following:
What if all you have is unbleached all-purpose flour? While the buns may not rise quite as high, go ahead and use it; they'll taste perfectly fine.
Mix everything together — by hand, using a stand mixer, or in a bread machine — to make a rough dough.
Knead the dough until it's smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl to protect the dough from drafts, and to keep it moist. An inexpensive plastic shower cap is an ideal bowl cover.
Let the dough rise until it's just about twice the size it started, which will take about 90 minutes, maybe a bit longer if your house is cool.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface; a silicone rolling mat works well here.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle
Roll/pat the dough into a 12" x 18" rectangle. Try to make the corners as square as possible; this will keep the buns on each end from becoming misshapen.
Gather your filling ingredients:
1/2 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, Cabot preferred; or the pizza cheese of your choice
4 ounces (about 1 cup) chopped or shredded pepperoni
Top the dough
Spread the sauce atop the crust, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce.
Top with the shredded pepperoni.
OK, timeout. What if you don't like pepperoni, or are baking for a vegetarian crowd? Feel free to use your own favorite pizza toppings, with this caveat: make sure they're pre-cooked, and shredded/diced into small pieces.
Roll into a log
Starting with a long end, roll the dough into a log.
Cut the buns
Cut the log into 12 to 18 pieces, depending on how large you want the buns to be. I like to mark the dough with a sharp knife ...
... then use dental floss to cut it. Loop the floss underneath the log, then pull the ends up and in opposite directions; they'll slice right through the dough without squashing it, filling and all.
Space on baking sheets
Give the buns enough room to rise and spread out a bit.
Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until they're nicely puffed.
Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake and serve warm
Bake the buns for about 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Don't over-bake; better they're soft and tender than tough and dry.
Remove the buns from the oven, and serve warm, with extra pizza sauce if desired.
Make the rolls ahead, if you like; they store well for several days in the refrigerator. To serve, lay them on a baking sheet, tent with foil, and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or so, until warm.
And there you have it — our Pizza Party Buns Bakealong, a delectable way to shake off your holiday sugar habit!
Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.