Pepperoni and Cheese Bread

Swirls of smoky pepperoni and gooey mozzarella cheese, nestled inside golden, chewy, parmesan-dusted bread dough. Five ingredients that lead to pure bliss. You need this in your life my friends.

This bread reminds me of the loaves got at the Italian market in Philadelphia as a kid. And New York as an adult. The bread is firm and chewy, with a golden brown, toasted exterior. And inside: sliced pepperoni and buttery mozzarella cheese. I added a little garlic for a flavor boost and WOW, I'm so glad I did. And that sprinkling of parmesan cheese? It toasts up in the oven and creates the most wonderful crust. Everything about this bread is perfect.
And there are only 5 ingredients! Fresh or frozen dough (pizza dough or bread dough), pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan, and garlic powder. Six if you count olive oil - which I often don't because most people have it on hand. If you don't, you can use cooking spray instead!

About the bread dough: I used Rhodes frozen bread dough and thawed it on my counter according to the package directions. You can also thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Another option: refrigerated pizza dough and bread dough - the process is the same, just without the thawing step.

Pepperoni and Cheese Bread 

Cooking spray
1 pound fresh or frozen bread dough, thawed according to package directions if frozen
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
15-20 slices pepperoni
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Coat an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Roll the dough out on a flat surface until you have an oval about 10-11 inches long and about 7 to 8 inches wide. Sprinkle the dough with the garlic powder. Top the dough with the mozzarella cheese, to within 1/2-inch of the edges. Arrange the pepperoni slices over the cheese, in a single layer. Starting from the longer side, roll the dough up tightly, jellyroll-style.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan seam-side down (yes, it will be longer in length than the pan, just squish it in). Let dough rise in a warm place (room temperature) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it reaches about 1/2 to 1 inch above the top of the loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes, until it's puffed up and golden brown. Cool the bread for at least 5 to 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (reheat in a 300-degree oven or in the microwave).
Makes 1 loaf