Sunday, January 16, 2022

Babes Bake Pepperoni Rolls

Here we are starting off a new year, with all the hopes and resolutions that go with that. It's often a month when we hibernate in various fashions...some to read, some to mull over garden catalogs with dreams of summer and harvest, some to binge watch on Netflix and some to cheer on their team as some sports reach their final efforts for the year. With all of these pursuits, a small treat or spicy little nosh can be just the thing to go with.

This month I'm Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes. I chose West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls as that little nibble. It's about 4 inches wide and is rolled up like a jelly roll with the pepperoni filling making a spiral. Not a meat lover? Try the mushroom version or improvise your own filling. The traditional dough is a bit on the sweet side, which is OK if you are adding a layer of spicy pepperoni, but if you filling will be blander or you just prefer a less sweet dough, reduce the can be a little as two tablespoons and still be fine. The dough keeps in the fridge for days, too, as long as it's lightly coated with oil. You can make a few rolls at a time that way...snacks for days!

A number of years ago...maybe 9 years...I visited West Virginia about a month or two earlier than now for a crafts festival. On the way back to my Mom's house in eastern Virginia, we stopped at a gas station and bought the local specialty, Pepperoni Rolls to take back with us. If I remember correctly, the dough was rolled around the slices in the same way you roll dough around cinnamon sugar and butter to make cinnamon buns...or the same as a jelly roll. The difference is that you start with a four-inch in each direction piece of dough, so you don't cut just have a small, delicious bread roll with spicy pepperoni inside. The juices and oils that cook out of the sausage during baking soak into the bread roll so they are a treat not to be missed. At the gas station they came wrapped and sealed in cellophane. I guess that they are a pretty good keeper saved that way. These are even tastier since they are freshly made.

These are great for serving when friends gather to watch sports or play cards or a board game (although with the new COVID variant on the rise you may want to skip that). Good with a beer or a cup of coffee. Feel free to adapt to sourdough starter and to whatever flour you like to use, but do try them with pepperoni and at least the first time avoid adding any other filling so that you get the authentic experience! If you avoid meat entirely, look further down the post for the mushroom version. Sweetie said that he preferred this filling over the pepperoni!

As always, we encourage you to bake with the Babes, and to be a Buddy by sending me an email with the URL of your post and a photo, plus a short description of your bake. Deadline is Jan. 29th. plachman *at* sonic *dot* net. You'll get a Buddy badge and be included in the round-up.

You will also want to visit the other Babes blogs to see what they did with this recipe. Since we are brilliant bakers all, we often bend the rules a bit...or a lot!...with great results.

A Messy Kitchen - Kelly 
Bread Experience - Cathy
Judy's Gross Eats - Judy
Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
My Kitchen In Half-Cups - Tanna

Pepperoni Rolls - similar to what is found easily at convenience stores  and gas stations in West Virginia, U.S.A.

Yield: 20 rolls

1 cup warm water (100 degrees F/40 degrees C)

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (8 oz.) package sliced pepperoni

Dissolve the 1/2 teaspoon sugar in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and let stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast 'blooms'.

Mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl. If mixing by hand, stir in the yeast mixture, beaten eggs, and the melted butter. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured clean work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If mixing in a stand mixer, Put the yeast mixture in the stand mixer bowl. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup of the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the stand mixer and attach the dough hook. On low speed, add the flour mixture, a cup at a time in the beginning, and by tablespoons when the dough almost clears the sides of the bowl, until you have a soft dough. Knead with the mixer for 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

 Lightly oil a large bowl, then place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth or a clean shower cap, and let rise in a warm place (80 to 90 degrees F, or 27 to 32 degrees C) until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours, although with colder weather in the Northern hemisphere it might take longer.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.

Punch down the dough, and divide it into 20 equal pieces, about the size of a golf ball. Using your hands, flatten each piece into a small rectangle, about 4 inches square. Place 3 slices of pepperoni down the center of each dough square, overlapping the slices. Place another row of 3 slices next to the first. Roll the dough around the pepperoni slices, pinch the edges closed, and place the rolls on the prepared cookie sheet.

 Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 14-16 minutes. until the bottoms are lightly browned and the tops are barely golden.

 Eat while still a little bit warm, but do allow to cool enough for the fat from the pepperoni to cool enough that you don't burn your tongue. Enjoyable dipped into warm marinara sauce.

If you are looking for a version with no meat, you may want to try this mushroom filling. It is mellower 
in flavor than pepperoni, but still delicious.

Mushroom Filling Instead of Pepperoni

After you have flattened the dough into the 4-inch square, place 2-3 rows of thinly sliced mushrooms, about 4 oz. regular white or brown 'button type,  that have been sautéed in 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch nigella seeds, 1/2 teaspoon ground Hungarian paprika or smoked paprika (your choice) and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt, then the mixture cooled. After placed the sliced mushrooms as pictured, roll up like a jelly roll, just as you do with the pepperoni filled ones, and seal the edge where dough meets and the ends. Place the roll on the baking sheet as you would a meat filled roll and proceed with the recipe.

Elizabeth was kind enough to convert the recipe to weights - a far better way to measure ingredients for bread indeed. Can't wait to see her version, no matter what West Virginians would think of it. I'm thrilled with variations.

"Because I'm a freak, I have converted all the ingredients into grams."

1 cup [240 grams] warm water (100 degrees F/40 degrees C)
1/2 teaspoon [2 grams] granulated sugar
1 (.25 oz.) package [7 grams] active dry yeast
5 cups [625 grams] all-purpose flour
3/4 cup [150 grams] granulated sugar
2 teaspoons [12 grams] salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup [113 grams] butter, melted
1 (8 oz.) [227 grams] package sliced pepperoni


  1. Thanks for the great recipe and the lesson on this West Virginia treat.

  2. Those sauteed mushrooms just look so good!

  3. Mulling over garden catalogs - yes indeed! Thanks for the delicious choice.

  4. Wow. I cannot get over how beautiful both your rolls look.

    Once again, I’m going to be hopelessly late. I can’t wait to see how my pepperoni(or not) rolls turn out either!

  5. Love the mushrooms! But I'll stick with pepperoni lol

  6. These were really delicious! I've had friends ask for the recipe, which rarely happens. Thanks for an interesting choice.

  7. Thanks for picking this recipe. It got my creative juices going to come up with a veggie version. Really liked this dough.