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"Pizza Babka" is as Good as it Sounds

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When we posted this GIF of Erin's yeasted Rhubarb Swirl Bread on Instagram, you left a lot of great suggestions in the comments: mini-loaves, Nutella and cardamom filling, pizza loaf...

Hold up.

Pizza loaf?!


Our brains had been stranded in Dessert Land, but when we tried your suggestion, we got a bready, lofty pizza "babka," with a crisp crust and bites of sauce and cheese in every bite.

Pizza Swirl Bread
Pizza Swirl Bread

Use a firm pizza dough that's easy to work with (Jim Lahey's no-knead dough is great, but too wet for these purposes) and a thick sauce—cook it down, and strain it if you need to.

As for shaping the loaf, you can form it the same way you'd shape the Rhubarb Swirl Loaf—make a long log, then slice it lengthwise to expose the filling, and make an X-shape—or take a more traditional twist: Fold the long log in half, then twirl the two legs around one another, keeping all the filling on the inside.

Depending on the shaping technique you use, you'll need one or two loaf pans and baking times may vary—be sure to make until the internal temperature reads 185° F (start checking after 35 minutes) and to let the loaf cool completely in the pan. (You can always warm it up again later—griddled slices of pizza bread would be excellent.)

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Pizza Swirl Bread

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell

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Makes one or two 9- by 5-inch loaf
  • 2 pounds pizza dough
  • 1 heaping cup tomato sauce (such as https://food52.com/recipes/13722-marcella-hazan-s-tomato-sauce-with-onion-and-butter)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil, as needed

And pizza loaf is just the start. All of the suggestions for stuffing a loaf of bread—pesto, feta, za'atar, caramelized onions, tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes—apply here, too.

How would you incorporate your favorite pizza toppings into loaf-form? Tell us in the comments!