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Pepperoni Bread

Pepperoni Bread

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Makes 2 loaves.
By Dennis W. Viau; from my grandmother’s recipe.

My grandmother Josephine was from the old country, born and raised in Naples, Italy. Every time we visited her, she would send us home at the end of the day with something good to eat. Often it was her pepperoni bread. This isn’t the kind of bread you would toast and eat with eggs at breakfast. We liked to butter it and toast it under the broiler for a snack or to eat with a bowl of macaroni or soup.

Ingredients:

Basic White Bread:
2 pounds (900g) bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast, either instant or active dry
1 tablespoon sugar
2½ cups (about 600ml) warm water (105 to 115°F/41 to 46°C)
2 teaspoons salt
For the Pepperoni Bread:
2 cups (250g) diced pepperoni, preferably from a stick rather than sliced
2 cups (250g) diced mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Put about half the flour in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Blend well. Add the water and mix to form a wet batter. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast. If the yeast is viable, you should see little bubbles coming to the surface by the end of the rest time.

Add the remaining flour with the salt. Combine until dry enough to knead. Transfer to a clean surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should be slightly sticky. If it is too moist, flour can be added 1 tablespoon at a time during the kneading process.

Transfer the dough to a buttered deep bowl. Butter the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and divide into two equal portions. Flatten and roll out each portion to form a rectangle. Spread half the pepperoni and cheese pieces on each dough sheet, leaving one end uncovered. Roll up the dough, toward the uncovered end, pressing the dough firmly as you roll, to squeeze out air. Seal the end and place on a baking sheet, seam side down. Pat some butter onto the top of both loaves to prevent the plastic wrap from sticking. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes.

Toward the end of the rising time, heat your oven to 375°F (191°C). Uncover the loaves and place in the hot oven to bake 35 to 45 minutes, until golden.

Cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing.