According to my newest issue of Cook's Country, many groups created easy-to-make portable meals to take down to the mines in their lunch buckets in the late 19th century; for Italians in West Virginia, it was a pepperoni roll. The recipe for this on-the-go lunch clearly became a must-make in our house. When I mentioned these to Kayte, she decided to join in, and then Margaret did, too. Due to my hubby's desire to have these immediately if not sooner, we ended up baking these on different days, but they were a big hit with all three of our families.
According to Cook's Country, this recipe makes 16 rolls. Initially I intended to cut the recipe in half, but then I read the note about how easy these were to freeze. So I made and baked 16, which fed us for a dinner and a picnic lunch at the zoo, and then froze the rest. When we needed a quick, no hassle dinner, I stuck the rolls into the oven, made a batch of Donna Hay's mozzarella and tomato dip, and we had another dinner, just as good as the first!
from Cook's Country, April/May 2012
4 (7 - 8 oz) sticks pepperoni, 8 in long
1 1/2 c water
1 c whole milk
2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
6 2/3 (33 1/3 oz) all-purpose flour, + 1 tbsp
1 tbsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
4 tsp sesame seeds
- Cut pepperoni sticks in half crosswise, then cut each in half lengthwise. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 4 4-inch wedges (you should have 64 total). Place pepperoni in a large bowl, microwave until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to transfer pepponi to paper towel-lined plate; reserve 3 tablespoons of pepperoni oil and do not wash bowl. (I couldn't find these thick pepperoni, so I bought 32 thin sticks, which I cut in half. When I microwaved these, I only got 1 tablespoon of oil (maybe because of the decreased surface area?) so I just subbed in melted unsalted butter for the additional oil. I will search harder for the other kind of pepperoni next time; CC recommends Margherita Italian Style Pepperoni.)
- Combine water, milk, and sugar in a large measuring cup. Microwave until the temperature is 110º (about 1-2 min). Stir in pepperoni oil.
- Mix flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the water mixture and stir until incorporated. Knead until smooth. Put in the unwashed pepperoni bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 3 1/2 oz pieces. Form into balls and let rest 5 minutes.
- Toss pepperoni sticks with remaining 1 tablespoon of flour.
- Press each dough ball into a 6x4” rectangle. Lay 4 pieces of pepperoni side by side, 1/2 inch apart, and roll into tight cylinder, pinching seam to seal. Leave ends open. (see picture)
- Put rolls seam side down on parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, end to end, 1/2 inch apart, 4 per row. Cover with plastic and rise until doubled, about an hour.
- Brush with eggs and sprinkle with sesame seeds. (I made half without sesame seeds because the kids don't like them.) Bake at 375º until golden brown, about 24 - 28 minutes.
(These freeze really well: wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, wrap each roll in foil. Bake directly on the rack at 350º for 35 - 45 min or until heated through.)