Bread Baking: 'Pizza' Bread


[Photograph: Donna Currie]

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These buns are the distant cousin of pizza. Even though they're fluffy instead of flat, the tomato and herbs in the dough and cheese in the middle make them taste like they've been hanging around in a pizzeria, that's for sure.

Oregano was my herb of choice, but an Italian blend or your own favorite mix would be just fine. Though I typically use dried herbs when baking bread, you could use fresh. Three tablespoons of fresh herbs will substitute for the one tablespoon of dried. I cut the provolone into cubes and put a cube in the middle of each bun. The cheese melted and was soft when the buns were warm.

After the buns cooled completely, the cheese turned solid again and left a cheese-lined hole in the center of the buns, perfect for slicing in half and filling with, oh, I don't know, maybe some sausage?

If you don't want the hole-in-the-middle effect, you can cut the provolone into smaller bits and mix it into the dough. I used provolone, but any similar cheese would be fine; try cheddar, aged mozzarella, swiss, or munster.