For some reason, I assumed that pepperoni rolls were something that everyone ate growing up. I mean, we ate them a lot. They were served at all of our favorite pizza restaurants. As a kid, I really was not a fan of pizza sauce. Pepperoni rolls were the perfect solution. I could have all the delicious pizza flavor without all that yucky sauce. I remember when my taste buds started to evolve. I got adventurous. Instead of a pepperoni roll, I would order a pepperoni and sausage roll. Even more adventurous, I would eat a broccoli cheese roll.
Pepperoni rolls are such a delicious, compact meal. Any time we are traveling, I make them to eat in the airport or on a flight. They are compact and keep for a long time. They really are the perfect travel food.
Pepperoni rolls, at the very basic level, consist of a bread or pizza dough exterior wrapped around cheese and pepperoni. You can really use any pizza or bread dough. I know that I made them for a really long time by buying canned pizza dough or Italian or French bread in a can, unrolling it, filling it, rolling it, and baking it according to the package directions. I have to admit, I still do that occasionally. It is super convenient.
When we first made this crusty Italian bread recipe, as soon as I tasted it, I thought it was the perfect dough for making pepperoni rolls, an Ohio Valley favorite. The crust is crispy while the inside is light and airy. As an added bonus, when I make one batch of the dough, it yields enough for four loaves of bread. That means that I can take one of those dough balls and roll it out to make a pepperoni roll. I opted for one giant snake of a pepperoni roll. You could definitely make 4 individual pepperoni rolls(see below). I like one big one because the crusty ends are not my favorite. They lack the correct topping to crust ratio for my taste.
I like to store the dough in the refrigerator until I am ready to use the dough. We like to put it in a zip-top bag becausethe dough doesn’t get crusty. If you use plastic wrap, you will end up with some crusty, hard dough.
When we are ready to make the pepperoni rolls, we take the dough out of the refrigerator and prepare the oven. I put the pizza stone on the middle rack and the On the bottom rack, I put a jelly roll pan. It must have a lip for the scary part of the recipe. Heat the oven at 500 degrees for at least 40 minutes, but they are great to pack in lunches.
Immediately roll out the bread dough on a floured surface using a floured rolling pin.
Line the dough with cheese and pepperoni. I prefer turkey pepperoni because it is not as greasy. This takes about a half of a package. I use 5-6 slices of provolone cheese to make a 4 serving pepperoni roll.
Roll up the pepperoni roll, attempting to seal the seams and folding over the ends. Place on a cornmeal dusted surface. I use a pizza peel because we have one. It is not necessary. I just like to justify the purchase to myself and use it as much as possible. Allow it to sit for at least 40 minutes.
When the oven is ready and the pepperoni roll has rested, it is time to put it in the oven. Have 1 cup of boiling water ready to go. This has to go super quickly. Place the pepperoni roll on the hot pizza stone very carefully. I had to snake mine because it is longer than the stone.
Very carefully, pour the water on to the pan. It is a little scary. The water jumps and steams. That is what you want. I am scared of this process, but these pepperoni rolls are so good that I get brave for a second. I have not yet burned myself doing this. Make sure you shut the oven door as quickly as possible to lock in the steam. Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until browned.
Serve hot, out of the oven, room temperature, or cold. They are good at any temperature.
You can also make smaller pepperoni rolls. One batch of the dough will make four. I like to make these to save for later. Simply wrap them in plastic wrap, put in a zip-top bag and place in the freezer. Perfect for lunches!
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cups water (105-115 degrees F)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 gallon size zip top bags
- 1/2 package pepperoni
- 2 cups shredded cheese or 5 slices provolone
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar and warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.
With the stand mixer on low, add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, about 3-5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
If using later, break into four dough balls and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To bake, place a pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack at 500 degrees for an hour. Place a metal baking sheet on the bottom rack.
40 minutes before baking, turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into one long strip or four smaller strips of dough. Cover with pepperoni and cheese. I like to put cheese below and above the pepperoni. Roll and pinch at the seam. Allow to rest on a cornmeal dusted surface.
Place the pepperoni roll(s) on the heated pizza stone. Quickly pour 1 cup of boiling water in the baking sheet and close the oven door. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Eat while warm or freeze for later.