Things can get a little crazy in my fridge. With all sorts of jars aligned in tall stacks, there is never a shortage of ingredients to come up with something to eat.
Every so often I have to do a fridge-foraged meal to do a serious purge.
To make matters worse, our refrigerator is 12 years old. It’s still puttering along with a few kinks. The bottom 2 drawers in the fridge are more like freezer temperature limiting my storage. I don’t need extra freezer space!
Besides the jars, there is always pizza dough stored in bags. It comes in handy for weeknight meals for my three-year-old. Pasta and pizza are on heavy rotation when it comes to his eating.
I got kind of fancy with my pizza dough the other week. It didn’t all go to my little one’s dinner. Instead of stretching it into a rough, lopsided circle per usual, I made braided pizza bread.
First I rolled out the dough in a rectangle and spread on tomato sauce and pesto followed by a sprinkle of my favorite Italian blend cheese with Parmesan, Provolone, Fontina and Asiago.
Then I took my pizza cutter to slice angled strips on each side that I overlapped into a braid. Before baking it, I sprinkled the top with a mix of finely grated Parmesan, fresh thyme and garlic powder.
Braided pizza bread is a great appetizer for a crowd. I like to make my dough from scratch, but store-bought would work just fine.
You can use all sorts of different fillings. From veggies to meat, it’s an easy way to satisfy different tastes and preferences.
Braided Pizza Bread
- Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 40-45 minutes
- Yield: Serves 8–10 1x
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing dough
1-1/2 cups bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups tomato sauce plus more for serving
1/2 cup pesto plus more for serving
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Tomato sauce and pesto for serving
In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 15-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper Spread the tomato sauce lengthwise in center of the dough leaving a 5-inch border on either side. Spread on the pesto and sprinkle on the cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into angled strips about 1-1/2-inches wide. Start at one end and fold each strip over the filling alternating sides.
In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, thyme and garlic powder. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the Parmesan mixture on top. Transfer the braid on the parchment paper to a sheet pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve with tomato and pesto.