Pizza Babka

Switch up pizza night and make this homemade bread with swirls of pepperoni and cheese. Pizza Babka has an easy 5 ingredient dough as a base.

Friday night is pizza night at our house and has been for years. But as the kids get older, instead of a traditional round pizza, we switch things up and get that pizza flavor in different ways. Pizza potatoes, pizza slides…even healthy pizza zucchini casserole.

But the past few Fridays, we’ve made this twisted Pizza Babka. Fluffy white bread with deli pepperoni and gouda cheese swirls, then basted with butter. This bread is delicious enough to eat on it’s own, or dunk it in pizza sauce.

sliced pizza babka on parchment paper

About Pizza Babka:

You might often think of chocolate babka, but savory babka recipes are delicious too.

  • Flavor: The flavor of this bread will totally depend on the pepperoni and cheese that you choose. A high quality deli pepperoni will be best because it is lower in fat and full of flavor. Gouda cheese has more flavor than mozzarella, but you can use whatever sliced cheese you love most.
  • Texture: The bread portion of this recipe is soft and fluffy. You’ll love it! Although it is a soft bread, it is perfectly slieceable.
  • Method: This bread must be baked in the oven. Although I love my bread maker, you cannot bake this bread in a bread machine. You’ll need to form it and bake it in the oven. You can, however, make the base dough in the bread machine to have more hands-off time.

Working with Yeast

Working with yeast can be intimidating and the most questions we get on any of our recipes are the bread recipes. I can assure you though, that once you start working with yeast, you’ll get the hang of it. And one bite of homemade bread and you’ll never go back!

Read our guide to baking with yeast to find out what is the best yeast to use. Spoiler alert…I like instant yeast. And if you’re wondering how you can get your bread dough to rise, read our article on how to make bread dough rise faster.

collage of how to make twisted pizza bread

Babka Pizza Tips & Tricks

  • I use a stand mixer to mix the bread dough, but if you don’t have one, you can knead the dough with your hands.
  • Bread flour gives the babka a sturdier texture. If you don’t have bread flour, use all-purpose flour.
  • My favorite brand of yeast is Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast. It works beautifully, every time.
  • You can make a vegetarian version with tomatoes and cheese or pesto.
  • Use sliced cheese rather than shredded cheese. The shredded cheese will easily fall out while you are braiding the bread.
  • The pepperoni I used was very low in fat, so it got a little extra crispy on top of the bread. I didn’t mind that at all. In fact, I’m crazy for crispy pepperoni! But if you’d like yours to be less crispy, make sure the pepperoni is tucked into the bread dough before baking.

Storage Instructions

Store this bread in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you have leftovers. You can rewarm slices in the microwave, or you can brush with olive oil and heat it in a hot skillet. This will lightly toast the bread and make it taste amazing.

closeup of the inside of a loaf of pepperoni cheese bread
closeup of the inside of a loaf of pepperoni cheese bread

Pizza Babka

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Switch up pizza night and make this homemade bread with swirls of pepperoni and cheese. Pizza Babka has an easy 5 ingredient dough as a base.
Servings 10
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 7 grams
  • 2.5 cups bread flour 325 grams
  • ¾ cup water 120-130ºF 168 grams
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 25 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt 7 grams

For the filling:

  • 20-30 slices thin sliced pepperoni deli-size
  • 8 slices gouda cheese*
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter** for basting the dough

Instructions
 

Make the pizza dough:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and instant yeast. Please note…this recipe uses instant yeast which means you don‘t have to proof it. If you have active dry yeast, follow the instructions on the back of the yeast packet for proofing the yeast in the water.
    2.5 cups bread flour, 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water (heated to the correct temperature), oil and salt.
    ¾ cup water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Add the flour mixture and mix using the paddle just until the mixture is combined.
  • Then switch to the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes on low speed. The dough should come off the sides of the bowl easily and not stick.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30-60 minutes or until nearly doubled.

Make the babka:

  • Prepare a 8.5“x4.5“ bread pan by spraying the pan with cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bread pan so you can easily remove the bread.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. It should be about 2 – 2.5“ wider on the short side than your pan.
  • Layer the pepperoni and then the cheese evenly over the whole dough.
    20-30 slices thin sliced pepperoni, 8 slices gouda cheese*
  • Roll the dough up like you would for cinnamon rolls and seal the end by gently pinching the dough together at the meeting point so it holds together nicely.
  • Cut the roll in half from the top to the bottom leaving ½“ uncut at the end.
  • Carefully twist the two pieces of dough around about 3 times and press the end pieces together to seal them.
  • Transfer to the prepared loaf pan, tucking the edges in if it is too long.
  • Cover the pan and allow the loaf to rise for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter over the loaf.
    2 tablespoons melted butter**
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until cheese is melted, dough golden brown and pepperoni looks crispy around the edges. If the bread is getting too brown on top, cover with foil while it finishes baking. Internal temperature should be 190ºF. If you use a different size pan, the bread could take longer/shorter.
  • If you‘d like, brush more butter over the freshly baked loaf. Let the bread rest for at least 20 minutes, then slice.
  • Serve with marinara sauce, aioli or another favorite sauce.

Notes

*Don’t like gouda? Use sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese.
**If you want to add more flavor, add Italian herbs, parmesan cheese or garlic to the melted butter.
Storage Instructions: Store this bread in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can rewarm slices in the microwave, or you can brush with olive oil and heat it in a hot skillet. This will lightly toast the bread and make it taste amazing.
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the bread being cut into 10 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of bread. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 513mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 271
Keyword braided bread, homemade bread

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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