I absolutely adore pizza. A soft bread base, fragrant tomato sauce, cheese… Sublime! But, what do you do when you want a solitary slice of sheer heaven? Well, that is where my pizza rolls come out on top. These rolls are ‘tear-and-share’ which means they are baked as a batch, close together, so that they become one mass to be pulled and torn at. They’re perfect for parties or, if you baked them further apart, are perfect rolls for one.
If you bake the pizza rolls separately, you can freeze the ones you do not want immediately. Then, when you are in the mood for pizza, simply defrost and bake for 5-10 minutes. They are also perfect as an accompaniment for soup!
When I decided to bake these rolls, I had a very particular flavour in mind. I wanted a sauce that was full of tomato flavour but also really herby. You can alter the flavour however you like, though. If there is one thing that pizza is good for, it is adapting to the tastes of different people. You can even put pineapple in them, if that is what you like (no judgment here!)
Finally, this is an enriched dough. That means that it includes butter, eggs, milk and (usually) sugar. These ingredients all help to make the dough super soft but they also mean it is not vegan. You can easily substitute the butter and milk for dairy-free alternatives (and I most often do). As for the egg, I would suggest leaving this out entirely and adding 50ml more of ‘milk’. Also, because the dough is enriched, it will take longer to knead and prove, so do not worry. It is normal!
Talking of pizza… If you happen to be in Manchester, be sure to check out Rudy’s in Ancoats. They make the best pizzas!
For the rolls
- 450 g strong white bread flour
- 14 g instant dry yeast
- 30 g caster sugar
- 150 ml milk warmed
- 50 g butter
- 1 egg large
For the filling
- 400 g chopped tomatoes (canned)
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 3 tbsp thyme dried
- 2 tbsp oregano dried
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 onion finely diced
- 75 g cheese grated
- Sift the bread flour into a large bowl.
- Add the yeast and sugar, mix well, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
- In a saucepan, warm your milk and melt your butter. You want the milk to be around body temperature (approx. 36°C).
- Pour the melted butter and warm milk into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix a little before adding the egg. (This will prevents the egg scrambling.)
- Fully combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a sticky dough ball.
- Next, knead the dough on a floured surface for 12-15 minutes (by hand) or 5-6 minutes on a medium speed in a stand mixer. We want a springy dough that springs back when pressed.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased/oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or trusty shower cap (clean, of course) and prove for one hour.
- Once proved, knock back the dough and roll out into a square measuring approximately 30x30cm. Tack the edge furthest away from you to the work surface by pressing down along the edge and pushing away from you. (This is to edge of the dough to the work surface so that you can pull it a bit taut when you come to roll it up.)
- Strain the chopped tomatoes to remove the majority of the juice (otherwise, the filling will be too wet to roll) and stir in the tomato puree.
- Spread the tomato mix over the rolled-out dough, leaving a one inch border along the edge that we tacked to the countertop.
- Sprinkle the thyme, oregano and garlic powder over the tomato sauce in an even layer before adding the onions.
- Now roll the dough up by folding the edge closest to you over onto itself. Pull gently then roll, pulling the dough taut as you continue to roll until you reach to the tacked-down end.
- Use a bench scraper to release the dough from the work surface, and seal the edge.
- Cut the rolled dough into nine equal pieces (cutting into thirds and then thirds again.)
- Place the rolls, swirl side up, in a greased and lined 9" square tin in 3×3 rows.
- Leave to prove for a further 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Once proved, sprinkle the rolls with cheese and place in the oven for 35 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°C after 15 minutes. The rolls should be a dark brown colour but not burnt.
- Allow the rolls to cool slightly before serving. I serve them warm but they go down equally well when fully cooled.
- Bake on a baking sheet so that the rolls have more room to spread when baking (so that they don’t fully adhere to each other).
- Remove the rolls from the oven 10 minutes before they are fully cooked.
- Freeze individually.
- Defrost fully before cooking.
- Cook at 200°c for 10 minutes.