If you are from anywhere near West Virginia or western Pennsylvania, chances are good that you’ve heard of (or eaten!) pepperoni bread (sometimes also called pepperoni rolls). It was pretty much a staple at my grandma’s house when I was a kid. Walking into her kitchen and seeing mounds of pepperoni bread stacked all over her counter was like Christmas morning. Needless to say, they didn’t last long at all at her house. What we didn’t devour while we were there was divvied up between my family and our cousins to eat at home.
Words truly do not do justice to how absolutely, positively in love my family was with my grandma’s pepperoni bread.
I also cannot tell you how utterly elated I was when I found out early on in our courtship that my Chief Culinary Consultant’s mom also made pepperoni bread. I’ve only made it a handful of times myself, so I’m always ecstatic when I find out that his mom is making a batch.
Pepperoni bread was one of the earliest recipes ever posted here on Brown Eyed Baker, but it was terribly vague and in desperate need of a makeover. Any excuse to make pepperoni bread!
Now, a few notes about the recipe:
My grandma (and my mother-in-law) used Rhodes frozen bread dough. I highly recommend it. I know. You could totally make your own dough. I have. It’s fine, but it’s not the same, and sometimes you just want what you’ve loved since you were four years old, right?
When my grandma first told me how she made hers, she said she would get two rolls out of one loaf of bread dough. However, mine seemed to come out quite bigger than I remember hers. It doesn’t really matter, but if you’d prefer smaller rolls, you could certainly divide the dough into three or even four pieces.
Feel free to adjust the amounts of pepperoni and cheese, and use more or less of either based on your personal preferences. You could also add/substitute other meats like salami or different cheeses (although in our family it’s straight pepperoni and mozzarella; I do make one roll with the addition of green olives for my Chief Culinary Consultant because he loves them).
You will almost certainly find that some pepperoni and/or cheese spilled out of the side of some of your loaves. Embrace it. As kids, we used to fight over who would get the roll with all of the cheese stuck to the outside. I have yet to meet pepperoni bread without at least a little “seepage”.
My family always kept these (and ate them) at room temperature, but my Chief Culinary Consultant’s family refrigerates them and reheats them. You could do either.
If you have a pizza stone, you could bake the pepperoni bread on there, as they would get a crispier bottom, which I love (my grandma always made hers on VERY seasoned baking sheets).
If you like pepperoni pizza, these will be right up your alley. It’s basically pizza without the sauce!
I love the memory of seeing pepperoni bread in my grandma’s kitchen; I need to make them appear in mine more often!
Follow package instructions for thawing/rising frozen bread dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
Cut each loaf of dough in half and work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered under plastic wrap that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle about 7 inches by 12 inches. Cover the surface with sliced pepperoni, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella over top. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the seams and ends to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving. The pepperoni rolls can be served warm or at room temperature. Store leftover pepperoni rolls in resealable plastic bags at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The rolls can also be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to 1 month.