Pizza Party Buns
Ingredients for Dough:
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups Unbleached AP Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or 1 package
Ingredients for filling:
1/2 cup of your favorite pizza sauce.
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack Cheese or the pizza cheese of your choice.
4 ounces (about 1 cup) chopped or shredded pepperoni or any meat of your choice that is cooked and chopped. IE: bacon or sausage
Mix above items together -- by hand, using a mixer or in a bread machine -- to make a rough dough.
Knead the fought until it's smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm draft free place. Let the dough rise until it's twice the size it started, which takes about 90 minutes, maybe a bit longer if your house is cool.
Deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, a silicone rolling mat works well here.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 12" X 18". Try to keep the corners as square as possible.
Top the dough -- Spread the sauce atop the dough, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce. Top with the shredded pepperoni, or the meat of your choice.
Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 12 to 18 pieces, depending on how large you want the buns. Space the cut rounds on two parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Flatten each round gently till about 1" tall.
Let rise -- Cover the pans and allow the buns to rise for 60 to 90 minutes until they are nicely puffed. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350F
Bake and serve warm -- Bake the buns for about 25 to 30 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Don't over-bake: it's better if they are soft and tender rather than dry and tough. Remove buns from oven and serve warm, with extra pizza sauce if desired.
Roll can be made ahead and will store well for a few days in the refrigerator. To serve them lay them on a baking sheet and tent with foil and reheat in a 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until warm. Buns can also be frozen for up-to 6 months.