My husband and I agree on most things, but one thing we can’t agree on is pepperoni rolls!
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If you are unfamiliar with pepperoni rolls, I’m sorry for you, you have not truly lived. A pepperoni roll is simply that–pepperoni, baked inside of bread. Do not call it a calazone, do not call it a stromboli, it is a pepperoni roll.
While there are some different versions of who created the idea of the pepperoni roll, the premise is that immigrant Italian coal miners in West Virginia needed something to eat in the underground mines that was hearty, didn’t need refrigeration, and was easily packable…someone baked pepperoni inside of bread, and the pepperoni roll was born.
While it seems like an unlikely mecca for pasta fagiole or Sunday gravy that is not flour based and flecked with sausage, some of the best Italian food I have eaten, has come from north central WV, where a large population of Italian-Americans can still be found today.
I make my rolls using this dough recipe from Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. This is the the best dough I have ever used, it works up easily with little effort or fuss, and can be refrigerated up to 3 days. It makes two pizza crusts the size of a half-sheet pan, or a pizza crust and a nice pan of cinnamon rolls, if you are in to that sort of thing….(I am.)
The dough my husband prefers is a thicker, sweeter dough.
- You will need:
- 1 tbsp yeast + half cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 2/3 cup (addtl.) warm water
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 5-6 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 stick, or package of sliced pepperoni
- 8 oz of shredded, or block cheese for slicing (you may add more, less, or none depending on your preferences. We like mozzarella and pepper jack, mixed. the worst thing that can happen is that you add too much cheese, and it oozes out the sides.)
- Parchment paper (optional) I highly suggest baking these on parchment paper. It not only keeps them from sticking, and makes clean-up easy, if you do add too much cheese, it will easily peel off, to pop easily into your mouth.
- 1. Proof 1tbsp of yeast in half a cup of warm water. I put a tiny pinch of sugar in the yeast while it is proofing...I let it sit about 5 minutes.
- 2. In your mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment), add 1 2/3 cup warm water, 4 tbsp melted butter, and pour in your water/yeast mixture.
- 3. Add 1 tbsp salt, and 3 tbsp sugar
- 4. With your mixer on low, gradually add your flour...when it comes to pepperoni rolls, I use white all purpose flour, this is no time to be healthy..you are about to eat meat, cheese, and bread. Add one up at a time, I add around 5 cups - sometimes 5 1/2-6, but usually 5.
- 5. Gradually increase the speed of your mixer, and mix until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl, into a ball.
- 6. Dump your ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap and put in a warm space for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled. My microwave is above my stove, and I find that is a perfect place to let the dough hang out and do its thang.
Regardless of which dough method you choose, your next steps go like this:
portion out your dough. I reserved half of each batch of dough to use another time (cinnamon rolls), and was able to make 9 medium-large rolls from each of the remaining halves.
Stuff your dough with the cheese and pepperoni style of your choice, seal up. I bake mine on parchment paper because I buy it in giant rolls from Costco and it makes cleanup easy. For the recipe I provided, I bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. For PW recipe, I bake as directed for her pizza recipe.
You can let them cool if you want, but I prefer them hot enough to burn my mouth. Enjoy! (And if you are an aficionado, weigh in below on which you prefer, sticks or slices? more dough or less?)