Remember the challah dough I made 4 weeks ago? Well, half of it was still sitting in my freezer so I decided to make veggie pizza rolls – a great way to end April with a bang, right?
My Saturday started out at 5:30AM with my weekly NRC long run. It was the last long run before the break Nike takes to get ready for the summer session at the beginning of June. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with not having my weekly Nike Runs. Excuse me for a moment while I cry in the corner. It’s going to be a tough month of Nike withdrawals. I’ll keep running, but it won’t be the same. Plus, it was a great long run too – down 5th Avenue, across the Brooklyn Bridge, back to the city via the Manhattan Bridge, and up the East Side to Niketown. The run started out cold but warmed up beautifully by the end. I almost didn’t go since I was feeling under the weather Friday night, but I’m so glad I did!
But back to the challah. When I asked my sister to take out the dough for me to rise at room temperature, I honestly didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to make yet. I had some ideas – chocolate chip challah, loaf pan challah for french toast, honey apple challah, challah pizza. After some recipe googling, I finally found the perfect idea: challah pizza rolls! Something savory after the red velvet cupcakes I had last week, and fun to share and eat!
The concept is actually quite simple. Ever made cinnamon rolls before? If not, don’t worry. I only made those one time last year and those turned out to be a disaster, but these pizza rolls turned out A-okay, so really practice makes perfect (or at least improvement).
After rolling out the soft, eggy dough into a rectangle of about 9 by 12 inches, spread the tomato sauce and fillings over it. I used whatever was in my fridge: mushrooms, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.
Roll up on the longer side and cut into equal pieces about 1 inch in length. Place them in a greased baking pan and let them rise a bit more for 15-30 minutes. Usually, this is when I preheat my oven.
When ready, pop them into the hot oven and voilà! Hot cheesy pizza rolls coming straight out of your home kitchen.
Since this was my first time making pizza rolls, there were quite a few mistakes I made, which I’ll like to share with you, along with some tips I learned from this recipe for pepperoni pizza rolls from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
The first mistake was not chilling the dough logs before cutting them. I was able to cut them and place them somewhat intact onto the baking dish, but with quite a struggle. Sally says chilling prevents from creating a big mess from the liquidy tomato sauce.
The second tip is to make dents in the rolled out dough and brush with olive oil. Here, I would brush with canola or vegetable oil since that’s what’s used in the challah dough. This prevents bubbles from forming and sogginess, which I had when I rolled the dough up.
The final piece of advice is too make sure you keep an eye out for doneness. Cooking time depends on your oven but once you see light browning on the side, they’re ready. The recipe I followed said they would cook in 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but it actually took me a little more than an hour. I took them out after 40 minutes but when cutting into the dough to try it, I realized it was still undercooked! After cranking up the temperature to 375 degrees and baking for another 15-20 minutes, I knew they were done after seeing browning on the sides. See how the dough in the first two photos are pale and white? Yep, that’s undercooked. When I cut into it, it was gummy. Yuck!
The rolls here are beautifully browned.
Although I did make a few mistakes, these were a great fun to make, and even more fun to eat. After running 14 miles, pizza rolls were the best post-run meal, and definitely something I’ll make over again!
Challah Pizza Rolls
adapted from Shannon Sarna’s Challah Pizza Roll-Ups on Kveller.com
1 recipe challah dough
1 cup tomato sauce
Ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, or any cheese of your preference
Mushrooms, about 3
1/2 red pepper
Cherry tomatoes, about 8
Prepare challah dough until after the second rising. If you froze the dough from an earlier dough preparation, defrost it in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight. Regardless of what stage challah dough was prepared, make sure it has risen two times. After defrosting in the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature.
While dough rises, prepare tomato sauce and fillings. This is really up to your preference. You can either use already prepared store-bought pizza sauce, or add your own seasonings to plain tomato sauce. I did the latter and mixed it up until it was seasoned enough for my taste. For the filling I sliced up some mushrooms, peppers, and cherry tomatoes.
On a lightly floured surface or silicone baking mat, roll out dough to a 9 by 12 inch rectangle. Brush with oil, and spread the tomato sauce, cheese, and fillings on top. Quickly and carefully, roll up the rectangle on the long side into a log. Chill the logs in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease a baking pan. Remove the log from the refrigerator and cut into 1 inch slices. Place the cut side down, and sprinkle with additional cheese and tomato sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes or until sides are lightly browned. Cooking time may vary depending on your oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with extra pizza sauce and dig in!