Fresh pizza dough (Recipe: Charlotte's sausage bread)
One convenient thing to know about fresh pizza dough:
Did you know that most supermarkets now sell fresh pizza dough in the dairy case? And that the dough often is made by a local bakery? And that if your market is out of dough, and you call your favorite pizza place and ask nicely, they will almost always sell you a pound or two of pizza dough? With all of that convenience so close at hand, you need not ever make your own again! Okay, I'm kidding, just a bit; there are good reasons to make your own dough (great flavor, add-ins, and gluten-free options), but when time isn't on your side, it's also good to know that you can have pizza, calzones, foccacia, and more, on the table in less than an hour.
Cooking or baking?
Fresh dough has to stay in the refrigerator, in order to retard the yeast and keep the bread from rising too quickly. Don't keep it for more than a couple of days; really, it's best to use on the day you bring it home.
Charlotte's sausage bread
What's the one thing your family expects you to make for all occasions, the dish you're known for, the dish they mention in the same breath as your name? For my friend Charlotte, it's this sausage bread, a recipe she's been making since she was 13 years old. The bread in these photos contains Italian turkey sausage, but traditionally it's made with regular pork sausage, so go either way. Charlotte never ever uses homemade pizza dough, but you can, if you don't happen to live in Rhode Island or another place where fresh pizza dough is sold in the dairy case in every market. Serves 12-20.
1 lb Italian turkey or pork sausage
1 lb fresh pizza dough
5 large eggs
1/2 cup Italian-style (seasoned) dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
Fresh black pepper
Garlic powder, chopped parsley, paprika, for toppings (optional)
2-3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat (silicone mat), and set aside.
Prick the sausage links all over with a fork. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the sausages, turning frequently, until they are browned on all sides. (If you're using turkey sausage, there won't be any fat in the pan, so you might want to add 1 tsp olive oil. Pork sausages will exude their own fat.) When the sausages are brown, remove from the pan, and dice. Set aside.
In a bowl, stir together the eggs, bread crumbs and cheese. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Mix the sausages into the bowl.
Sprinkle flour on your counter top, and roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thick round. If the dough retracts, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Spread the egg-sausage mixture on the dough, leaving a one-inch border all the way around.
Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough like a jellyroll, tucking in the sides along the way. You should end up with something that looks like a giant cigar! Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and (optional) garlic powder, parsley or paprika (or all three).
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the dough is nicely browned and sounds a bit hollow when you tap it. Remove bread from the oven, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Other recipes that use pizza dough:
Lemony zucchini goat cheese pizza, from Smitten Kitchen
Pizza fritte (Italian fried dough), from Noshtalgia
Pizza dough bread sticks, from Playing House
Homemade pizza with fennel sausage and rapini, from Food Blogga
Corn chorizo pizza with goat cheese and avocado, from A Cozy Kitchen