Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pepperoni Rolls

Mr. S and I grew up in West Virginia. The pepperoni roll is a local favorite. The story goes that back in the day, the coal miners used to take a stick of pepperoni and a loaf of bread for lunch. They wanted a one fist meal so one miner decided to bake the pepperoni into the bread and the pepperoni roll was born.

Since leaving WV, we've run into some people who think they know what pepperoni rolls are. They don't. They're always thinking of something more fancy... like a calzone or a stromboli. Pepperoni rolls are simple food for simple people. Hard working coal miners. In our hometown, you buy pepperoni rolls in the bread aisle of the store... in a 6- or 12-pack like hot dog buns or hamburger buns.

And once you leave the state, you make them yourself.

They're super simple.

Frozen bread dough
Pepperoni slices

I put the dough in the non-preheated oven at 175 for about an hour. I usually spray it with non-stick cooking spray and put a piece of plastic wrap over it (or them...I usually make 3 loafs worth at a time.) I also use a silpat mat. (I use silpat mats for everything.) I usually make 8 pepperoni rolls from one loaf of bread dough. Sometimes I make tiny ones and make 16 per loaf.

Once the dough is thawed and slightly risen, cut it up into 8 pieces.

One by one, mush (that's the technical term) and stretch each piece into the most rectangular shape you can get. Lay 5-6 slides of pepperoni along the rectangle. Feel free to use less or more depending on your tastes. Roll it up and lay it on the mat with the seam down. Do as I say, not as I do. I have no idea how these three ended up with the seam on the side. 

Bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

These are amazing straight out of the oven. Or dipped in some marinara. Or sliced open with a piece of cheese melted inside. Or cold for an easy take-along lunch. Or as road trip food. Or as airplane food. Or as picnic food. Or as a midnight snack. You get the idea.

Bonus funny pepperoni roll story: When I was in college in South Carolina, I'd always bring back a few packages of pepperoni rolls for me and my roommate. This was before I had mastered (or even tried) making them myself so when they were gone, they were gone. We were having the last two pepperoni rolls one night for dinner. She had put her pepperoni roll on the coffee table while she was getting something else. Lars (my then and now cat) loves pepperoni rolls. He got on the coffee table and took her pepperoni roll in his mouth and ran away with it. She chased him down, took it back and ate it anyway. Yeah, they're that good. And they're still one of Lars' favorites. 

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