Breads, Rolls + Donuts Savory

Deep Dish Pizza Bread

pizza bread in a cast iron skillet

I have been highly enamored with Kristina Cho’s new cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread; I can’t stop baking from it. The first recipe in her book, the Mother of All Milk Bread dough, is incredible and can be used in many applications, both sweet and savory. And I know I rarely share savory baking items here, but this Deep Dish Pizza Bread was the best dinner I had had in a long time, so I couldn’t resist.

What is the tangzhong method?

Kristina writes that “what sets … Asian enriched breads apart from other enriched breads is the use of tangzhong, a roux made of milk and flour. Tangzhong makes a huge difference in the quality of the bread… [w]hen you add tangzhong to the dough, the dough is able to retain a higher moisture content, and the result is a fluffy bread with delicate crumb and ethereal softness that lasts for days.”

I have used this dough over and over again the last few weeks, and have fallen in love with it. Cinnamon rolls, classic three-segment loaves, pull-apart milk bread buns have all been in rotation. This pizza is the newest addition to the list, and it is incredible. The edges are laced with crispy mozzarella cheese (a la Detroit-style pizza), and the dough is soft and delicious.

Kristina also writes that “my version of [pizza] bread would be right at home at your local school fundraiser or graduation party, but it’s so good it could even pass as an impressive appetizer at your next dinner party or game night.” I have to agree. My kids have already requested it to be made frequently over Christmas break, and the dough can be made ahead of time, which works out well if you remember to plan in advance.

pizza bread in a cast iron skillet
Mooncakes and Milk Bread cookbook on a marble surface

More Savory Bread Recipes:

deep dish pizza bread in a cast iron skillet

Deep Dish Pizza Bread

Servings: 4 servings
All your favorite things about pizza in a delicious milk bread, made in a cast iron skillet. The edges are laced with crispy mozzarella cheese (a la Detroit-style pizza), and the dough is soft and delicious.
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

Milk Bread Dough

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons [100g] milk
  • 2 tablespoons [20 g] bread flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon [125 g] warm 110°F [42C] milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup [50 g] granulated sugar plus a pinch
  • 2 2/3 cups [335 g] bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons [55 g] unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
  • 1 teaspoon canola or other neutral flavored oil for bowl
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Pizza filling

  • 1 ½ cups [275 g] tomato sauce homemade or your favorite store-bought variety
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups [450 g] shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup [142 g] sliced pepperoni

Instructions

For the Milk Bread Dough

  • Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the flour and milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the paste into a small bowl, scraping the sides of the saucepan with a flexible spatula; let cool until warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Texture should resemble mashed potatoes.
  • Make the milk bread: In a clean or new small saucepan, scald the milk over medium heat, bringing the milk to a gentle simmer (watch carefully as milk tends to boil over). Pour milk into a small bowl and cool until warm to the touch (about 110°F [42C]). Stir in yeast and a pinch of sugar and set aside until the surface of the mixture is foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the sugar, 335 grams bread flour, salt, and egg. Add the tangzhong and milk and mix on low until shaggy. Add the softened butter one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated before adding the next. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to knead the dough until it is tacky and slightly sticky, 8 to 9 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking, pinch and pull the ends of the dough to form a smooth ball.
  • Coat a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the dough to the bowl, gently turning it to cover with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours (or place in the refrigerator to proof for at least 8 hours or overnight).

For the pizza

  • Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
  • Brush a 10 in [25 cm] cast-iron skillet or round cake pan with the olive oil and sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella around the edge of the pan.
  • After the first proof, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to a roughly 10 by 18 in [25 by 46 cm] rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the tomato sauce over the dough, leaving an ½ in [12 mm] border around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and sliced pepperoni (if using) over the tomato sauce. Roll up the dough lengthwise to form a tight roll, pinching the seam to seal. Place the dough seam-side down on the work surface. Cut the roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Arrange the halves of the dough parallel to each other. Pinch one end of each roll half together and then begin crisscrossing the two rolls to form a twisted braid. Carefully transfer the braided loaf to the cast-iron skillet and bring the two ends of the twisted dough together to form a round loaf. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and let the loaf rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F [190C]. Right before baking, make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and cream in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the loaf, focusing on the areas not covered in sauce.
  • Bake until loaf is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve the bread directly from the case iron or transfer to a plate.

Notes

I forgot to reduce the tomato sauce; I cheated and just used half the amount and that worked fine. 
I also didn’t use the egg wash at the end – instead I brushed the dough with garlic oil. I mixed 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder together, then brushed half on the dough (per egg wash instructions) before baking, and the other half right after it came out of the oven. 
My pizza came out of the pan very easily and didn’t stick at all, but if you are worried about that you can run an offset spatula or knife around the edge of the pizza immediately after it comes out of the oven to help loosen it. 
 
 
 
  • Reply
    Kira
    Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    5 stars
    This was amazing! I am not sure that I cut it properly, however. After I rolled it lengthwise, I cut it in half, forming two 9” rolls and braided those. Looking at the photo, should I have cut the length of the roll instead?

  • Reply
    Sandra Carpenter
    Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    I recently made your Lemon Pull-Apart Bread – I even purchased the 9x4x4 inch pan to bake it. I have done it twice and although it is delicious, the bread when baked, was too much for the pan. About half of the pieces rose so much, they were almost coming out of the pan. I tried using 5 strips instead of 6, but the result, although a little better. was pretty much the same. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 11:21 am

      The bread does rise quite a bit – it will bake up tall. I haven’t ever had them push out of the pan; are you using the recipe and directions from Baking From the Holidays? And what kind of yeast and flour are you using?

  • Reply
    Sabrina
    Friday, March 11, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    5 stars
    wow, what a creative way to deconstruct deep dish pizza and in an iron skillet, genius way around a pizza oven or even an oven – best carbo overload (in a good way) I’ve seen in a very long time, thank you!

  • Reply
    Susan Jensen
    Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    5 stars
    sounds delicious! and I love your notes. egg wash substitute especially!

  • Reply
    Babs
    Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 10:38 am

    yummy ! cannot wait to make ! and yes, I made a cinnamon roll recipe from King Arthur and they used tangzhong in the recipe. I will say, that they were, hands down, the best rolls I’ve ever made.

  • Reply
    Beth
    Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    This looks fantastic! Do you know why the recipe calls for scalding the milk? Thank you for sharing this recipe from a very-tempting new cookbook.

  • Reply
    Mike
    Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 7:54 am

    This looks amazing. I will have to try this. I went to add the Mooncakes book to my wishlist and discovered it was already on it! That’s a sign to just go and get it already.

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