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Pizza Babka

Anthony Contrino
Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

If there's one Instagram trend I can get behind, it's this one, which originated with chef Bill Clark. It's a fun twist on stromboli, but so much cooler! Slicing the rolled log exposes all the layers of tomato, pepperoni and mozzarella, making for a pretty impressive presentation.

Technique tip: Let dough rest at room temperature for easier handling.

Swap option: Use provolone instead of mozzarella.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino, divided
  • 1/3 pound deli pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound deli mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • marinara sauce, for serving (optional)



Preheat the oven to 425 F.


In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic, swirl to combine and cook until fragrant, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Brush a nonstick 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with the butter mixture; reserve the remaining mixture.


Meanwhile, lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Place the dough onto the work surface and top with a light dusting of flour. Cover with a clean dish towel and let sit for 30-60 minutes.


Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16- by 12-inch rectangle, with the short side facing you. It should be about 1/4-inch in thickness. If you have trouble working with the dough, cover it with the towel and let it sit an additional 15 minutes.


Using a small offset spatula, smear the tomato paste to form a thin, even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border.


Sprinkle half the pecorino over the tomato paste.


Shingle the pepperoni, in an even layer, over the tomato paste.


Shingle the mozzarella, in an even layer, over the pepperoni.


Beginning at the side closest to you, tightly roll the dough over the filling to form a log.


Pinch the dough along the seam to seal. Trim any excess dough at each end of the log.


Place the log, seam-side down with the short end facing you. Using a sharp chef knife, slice down the length of the log, cutting all the way through to the board, but leave an inch intact at the far end to anchor the two pieces together.


Turn the cut pieces so that the layers of pepperoni and cheese are facing up. Carefully twist the pieces over and under each other, always keeping the cut sides face up.


Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area of the kitchen for 30 minutes.


Carefully brush the top and any exposed sides of the babka generously with the butter mixture. (You'll have leftover. Discard or dip some bread in it to snack on!)


Sprinkle the remaining pecorino over the top.


Bake until deeply golden-brown and cooked through, 45-60 minutes.


Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.


Using a plastic spatula, carefully transfer the babka to a cutting board and slice. Serve warm, as is, or with marinara sauce for dipping.