Pizza Monkey BreadPosted: February 13, 2013
A wild thing has happened over the past week. The Cheesy Mexican Pull-apart Bread I posted a few months ago has apparently gone viral on Pinterest and the traffic on little blog has blown up exponentially in the last few days. So, if people are excited about savory monkey bread, I’ll keep pushing the limits! And now I give to you: pizza monkey bread. (Important side note: If this photo below does not make you want to drool, you are probably in the wrong place.)
Andy and I planned to make this then sit down and attack it during the Grammys this past weekend. The attacking-it part we accomplished. The Grammys part we did not. We recently canceled our cable, and who knew you could only stream backstage interviews and ridiculous commentary, but not the actual thing? Do some people have two TVs going simultaneously to catch the hot backstage action, or does anyone actually watch just the backstage part (besides other sad cable-cancelers, of course)? The mysteries of life. We’re only glad we didn’t invite people over to watch them as we’d originally thought about. So,
unfortunately, we were left with the entire loaf of this bread to ourselves. Which was dangerous. And insanely delicious.
Each little piece of this bread is perfectly crusty with crispy Parmesan on the outside and gooey and soft on the inside. It’s part stuffed crust pizza, part actual pizza and part something-more-delicious-than-pizza, even. More delicious than pizza? I know, I know, but that statement was not uttered lightly and I stand by it. You really have to try it for yourself. Mere words will not be able to describe the cheesy, gooey magnificence properly. This would make a perfect party appetizer… or dinner for 2 (before you call a doctor, no, we did not even come close to eating the whole loaf in one sitting, don’t worry). Now, let’s stop drooling and get to it!
For the dough*:
3 7/8 cups white bread flour
2 T course semolina flour
1 package Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
2 heaping tsp. fine grain salt
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
For the rest:
12 oz. Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 T Italian seasoning (add dashes of red pepper flakes if they are not included in the seasoning)
1/2 stick butter melted
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce, for dipping
You can really use whatever pizza fillings you like, but we used the following. Just be sure to completely drain and pat dry whatever ingredients you use.
*If you are in a real time crunch or if making homemade dough scares the living bejeezus out of you, you can use biscuit dough or something similar that’s pre-made.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Dough likes warm kitchens. Combine dry ingredients (flour, yeast, semolina, salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a bread hook, turn stand mixer onto its lowest setting. Slowly add oil and water. After liquid has been added, continue to mix at lowest speed for two minutes. Turn mixer to next highest speed and continue mixing for six minutes or until dough becomes firm and barely sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead for two minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for one hour. While dough is rising, whisk together butter, oil and Italian spices.
Once dough has nearly doubled in size, lightly punch it down in the bowl. Pull off small pieces of dough from dough ball (slightly less than a tablespoon if you were to measure it), flatten the piece out into a circle and place toppings with mozzarella cube in the center. Pull edges of the dough around the toppings like a package and pinch together. Lightly roll with palm, so a more uniform sphere is created. Dip each piece in butter and spice mixture and drop into a bundt pan. (Sprinkle a little Parmesan into the bundt pan before you begin.) Once the bottom of the pan is covered with a layer of dough, sprinkle with 1/3 of the remaining cheese. Continue this process two more times (you will end with 1/3 of the cheese for the top once baked).
Cover pan with a towel and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, once the dough nearly reaches the top of the pan. Place into the oven and reduce heat to 425. Bake for 20-30 minutes until top is dark golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 15 minutes and turn out bread onto serving platter. Top with remaining cheese and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Eat this and you won’t even be slightly bummed that you canceled cable and missed the Grammys.