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.
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.
*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.**