Pilar Valdes' Pull Apart Guts-y Bread with Bloody Tomato Sauce
For the bread:
- 6 tbsp unsalted, melted Butter, divided
- 1 ¼ plus 1 tablespoons lukewarm Whole Milk, divided
- 3 tbsp cane sugar
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand)
- 3 eggs, divided
- 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 4 oz shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 oz shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 2 oz Pepperoni, sliced into ½” pieces
- 3 cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce (our favorite recipe follows)
Quick Use-for-Everything Marinara Sauce:
- 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, strained; tomatoes mashed and 1 1/2 cup tomato liquid reserved
- 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
- 1 sprig of basil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (optional)
Activate your yeast. In a small mixing bowl, add the sugar and the milk and stir to combine. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes.
Make your dough. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer, if using) whisk 2 eggs. Add 5 tablespoons butter and the remaining ingredients, including the yeast-milk mixture and knead (or use your stand mixer, with the dough hook attachment) until a smooth and pliable dough is formed. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes. Check if your dough is ready to use with an indent test—poke the dough with your finger; if it leaves an impression and does not immediately spring back, it’s ready to be shaped!
In a mixing bowl, combine the cheese and pepperoni.
Shape! Grease 2 loaf pans. Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to ¼-½” thickness. Using a 3” pastry cutter, stamp out circles from the dough. (Re-roll out the trim, and stamp out more circles to use up all the excess.) Stuff each circle with a few pinches of the cheese-pepperoni mixture and fold in half . Place in the loaf pan cut-side up (seam side down.) Repeat with remaining circles until each loaf pan is full. Cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes , until puffy.
During this final rising stage, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake. Whisk together the remaining 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. With a pastry brush, apply the eggwash to the tops of the loafs. Bake the bread for about 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the bread is fully golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, alongside a tomato dipping sauce.
Make the marinara sauce. In a medium saucepan set over low heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes (if using), and swirl. Continue to cook over low heat until garlic starts to become a little sticky and fragrant (do not let brown). Add the mashed tomatoes and 1 1/2 c tomato strained tomato liquid. Add the dried oregano, salt and basil sprig and stir. Increase the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer gently, stirring and mashing the tomatoes, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest. Check for seasoning, and add a pinch of salt, if you wish. Set aside and let cool completely. Remove basil sprig before using.