Updated: Jul 11, 2022
When I was a kid, sometimes on a cold Saturday afternoon, my mom would start slicing up a pepperoni stick and we all knew what that meant... PIZZA BREAD!!! This was one of those things when my mom would make it, it was gone almost as quickly as we were allowed to eat it. She would usually make multiple loaves so there was extra for the next day, but it was hard to keep our sticky kid fingers away from it.
I have always had it as pepperoni pizza bread, but my mom did make a green pepper and onion one that us kids found repulsive (and I still do to this day because green peppers are gross). As an adult, I have made a few different versions of it and really the sky is the limit on what you want to stuff inside. Think of your favorite pizza toppings and VOILA! You have the inside of your pizza bread. Once I made a caramelized onion and spicy Italian turkey sausage one. That was delicious.
It wasn't until I moved to Chicago that I realized my mom's pizza bread was kind of like something called stromboli (I had never heard of stromboli until I was an adult). I'm not sure there is really much of a difference, but we always called it pizza bread, so pizza bread it is called.
My mom always used frozen bread dough -- the stuff you find in the freezer section of the grocery store usually in a bag of 6 loaves. I used store bought pizza dough from my grocery's deli, but either works just fine. I think the bread loaves make for a little fluffier end product, but honestly it all tastes the same and the pizza dough doesn't require defrosting time.
Pizza bread is a perfect party snack, whether you're hosting or bringing a dish somewhere. It is actually best served just slightly warm to room temperature, so it makes the for the perfect thing to make before traveling to a party. However don't slice it until it is sufficiently cooled, otherwise your cheese will flow out like lava and you'll be left with no cheese on the inside. We always sliced it into about 1 inch pieces so it is really convenient for many people to grab one piece and move on. I make this a lot for my wine club where we all bring food to share. It's always a hit and it really is the best portioned snack and actually fills you up.
Pizza bread was a classic in my house growing up and in my house now. Everyone who has ever had, loves it. I know you will too!
(I've included photos of the assembly and folding process below because it's important to do it a specific way.)
Watch my TikTok to see assembly in action
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Pepperoni Pizza Bread (Makes ~10-12 Servings) Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 25-35 minutes
1 fresh pizza dough ball or 1 frozen bread loaf (thawed and uncooked)
6.5 oz. pepperoni stick
8 oz. sliced provolone cheese
3 TB parmesan cheese
Sprinkling of garlic powder (~1-1.5 tsp.)
Preheat the oven to 350°
Cut the pepperoni into little "pie pieces" by cutting the stick in half lengthwise then again down the middle of the half moon shapes. Slice the stick halves into ~1/4" pieces (see photo above).
On a floured surface, roll the pizza dough or bread dough into approximately a 20x10 rectangle.
Pile the pepperoni down the middle of the dough, leaving a few inches on both the long and short sides for folding.
Sprinkle the parmesan cheese all over the pepperoni.
Layer the provolone cheese slices on top of the pepperoni/parmesan, covering all of it.
Sprinkle your desired amount of garlic powder on top of the cheese.
To fold the bread up, fold one of the long ends of the dough over the filling. Then fold up the short ends. Finally, fold the second long end over your first folds, tucking it under the entire loaf. You can stretch the dough quite a bit without tearing it. You want to make sure everything is sealed up and secure otherwise it will all come spilling out as it cooks.
Lightly spray a large baking sheet with some cooking spray. Transfer the pizza loaf to the tray, seam side down. If anything comes undone during the transfer, re-tuck it. Depending on the side of your tray, you may need to lay it down on a diagonal.
Whisk together the egg and a tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash all over the pizza loaf, making sure to get down all the sides and ends.
Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Cut into 1 inch pieces and serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
Like I said in the intro, feel free to put in any kind of filling you want. Get creative with it. I do recommend stick with provolone cheese unless you have a serious aversion to it. You can add in the mozzarella, but it can get a little too oozey and wet, creating a mess.
Keep an eye on this when it's in the oven. I won't lie to you, I've had mine come apart and the cheese melts all over my pan. It's not the end of the world, you can stuff it back it, but it's disheartening. If your bread is coming undone, I usually will take it out of the oven for a few minutes to let it chill out then put it back in. I've only ever had 1 major disaster with this and that was because I was going too fast and didn't fold everything properly. You can also turn the oven down to 325°.