Have you heard of pizza bagels? Not the cute little kind that you buy frozen and pop into the microwave. Like the people who are born from a mix of Jewish (bagels) and Italian (pizza) heritages. Well, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I am very much a proud pizza bagel.
I grew up with matzah ball soup from my grandma, a slew of Yiddish slang from both my parents, and tons of pasta, meatballs, and red sauce, especially for early Sunday supper.
And mashing up challah with some Italian flare is perhaps one of the most fun (and delicious) ways to express my dual heritages.
Like many of my recipes, this is the kind of dish you can add and subtract ingredients based on your own preferences. Some other things you could stuff inside these challah pizza rolls? Ricotta cheese, roasted red peppers, olives, pesto, or even pepperoni (hey, I’m not judging). OK, sure, you could also use vegan pepperoni.
This is a fun snack for after school, a movie-watching party, or even Sunday football watching. I recommend serving these rolls with some extra tomato sauce for dipping.
Note: If you want to make smaller, more bite-sized rolls, split the dough into two after it rises, rolling out two rectangles of dough. Then double the amount of filling in order to create smaller rolls.
For the dough:
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
½ tsp sugar
51/2 – 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
½ Tbsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ Tbsp dried basil
½ Tbsp dried oregano
½ Tbsp dried parsley
½ Tbsp jarred, chopped garlic (fresh is fine too)
For the filling:
¾ cup – 1 cup jarred tomato sauce of your choice
4-6 oz. shredded mozzarella (around 1-1 ½ cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
For the top:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ jarred garlic
Thick sea salt
In a small bowl place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 5-10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and dried spices. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and jarred garlic. Mix thoroughly.
Add another 1 ½ cups of flour and 2 eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining 1-2 cups of flour into dough until it is firm and elastic. It should bounce back slightly when you poke it.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Roll out dough into a large rectangle about ½ inch thick. Spread tomato sauce on top of dough. Sprinkle even layer of mozzarella and Parmesan on top of sauce. Top with chopped fresh basil. Roll up on the longer side, working quickly. Pinch dough together and pinch ends. It might be a little messy—this is fine!
Cut dough into roughly 2 inch pieces. Place in greased baking dish. Allow to rise another 15-30 minutes.
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in the microwave and add ½ tsp jarred garlic to butter. Mix.
Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from oven. Brush tops and side with garlic butter mix and place back into the oven for another 8-11 minutes, or until rolls appear puffy, golden brown on top and no longer raw or too doughy in the middle.
Serve warm with additional tomato sauce for dipping.