Pull-apart pizza: party time

You’ve heard of monkey bread – a.k.a. pull-apart bread, a.k.a. bubble loaf – right?

Cinnamon Monkey Bread is the classic version many of us Boomers cut our teeth on, a stalwart of home ec. classes back in the ’60s and ’70s. Chocolate Monkey Bread is another tasty choice.

Looking to go savory? Warning: Both our Butterflake Herb Loaf and Cheddar Cheese Pull-Apart Bread are highly addictive.

But why limit yourself to a loaf of bread – when the next logical step is pizza? Pull-apart pizza, to be exact.

Think about it. You’re having a party. The pizza comes out of the oven, and everyone gathers around for a piece. You cut the pizza – and it’s so hot that the cheese slides off like a carpet runner on slippery hardwood, carrying with it its cache of pepperoni, mushrooms, and everything else you’ve loaded on top.

Alternate choice: Wait 10 minutes before cutting. But as the hot pizza cools, so does the excitement. And if you wait too long? Greasy, cold, sodden pizza.

You can see what’s coming, right? You’ve got it: pull-apart pizza. Pizza that can be shared IMMEDIATELY upon coming out of the oven. No waiting, no sloppy slip-sliding topping, just pure pleasure from the word (grab &) go.

Speaking of grab & go, this pizza is eminently grabbable – though the only place you’ll want to go is right back to the table for another piece!

Ready to start monkeying around with your favorite pizza recipe? Here’s how.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

My favorite crust recipe comes from Now or Later Pizza. Made from a mixture of both all-purpose flour and semolina, the dough rests in the fridge overnight, where it develops really nice flavor.

When I’m making one large (half-sheet pan) pizza, I use the entire recipe of dough.

But this time I divide the dough in half, since I’m making two smaller pizzas: one using a traditional “chop bread” method and classic pizza toppings (pepperoni and cheese); the other using a “mix and toss” method, and featuring more substantial toppings: oven-roasted potatoes, thick-cut bacon, and chunks of cheddar cheese.

Let’s make our chop-bread pizza first.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Don’t get hung up looking for details here; this is more method than specific instructions.

Pat your pizza dough into an oval. Choose your favorite toppings, and pile them all on half the dough.

Fold the “blank” side of the dough over the filled side.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Transfer the filling-stuffed dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a bench knife or pair of scissors, chop/cut it into random pieces.

Yes, this will be messy – filling will fly! That’s totally OK.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Simply push everything together into a flat oval or round pile.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Let the pizza rise for an hour – or longer, if you’ve started with chilled dough. You should see the dough pieces puff noticeably.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Bake the pizza in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes or so, or until it’s nicely browned.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Remove from the oven. Share IMMEDIATELY.

Trust me, no one will burn his or her fingers or mouth on a big slab of broiling-hot cheese. And there’s nothing like light, tender/chewy bites of hot bread all jumbled up with crisp bits of pepperoni and melting cheddar.

Or roasted potatoes, bacon, and cheddar – my next pizza.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

I’m using a different method for this one. What happens if, instead of the rolling and filling and chopping and mounding, you simply divide the dough into pieces – as you do when making a typical monkey or pull-apart bread – and then toss it with the filling ingredients?

Let’s see.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Meet the ingredients: pan-roasted red potatoes, Cabot cheddar (LOVE their new Farmers’ Legacy collection!), and thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp.

OK, if you REALLY want some details, I’ve used a pound of potatoes, 4 ounces of cheese, and half a pound of bacon. Remember, these amounts are for half my crust recipe.

Dice the cheese, dice the bacon, and toss everything together with the dough pieces (bottom right).

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Scoop everything into a lightly greased 9″ round pan. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise until it’s puffy.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup grated cheese over the top, and bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Pull the pizza out of the oven, and turn it out of the pan.

Grip it and rip it.

Heaven.

Each piece is filled with crusty potatoes, pockets of melted cheese, and crunchy bacon. To say nothing of light, tender bites of flavorful crust.

Is the cheese holding everything together? Yes; cheese is the unifying element. And serendipitously, some of it melts during baking to form a crunchy bottom crust, lending even more structure.

And even more flavor – who doesn’t love “caramelized” cheese?

Having friends over? Take your favorite crust (or our Now or Later Pizza crust) and turn your favorite pizza into a real party animal!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Bernadette

    Great idea PJ! The possibilities are endless….serving a few different varieties would be fantastic at your Super Bowl party. I wonder how Pizza Margherita would work.

    Reply
  2. Daisy

    I make a lot of monkey bread, as well as pizza and calzones. This looks like a great idea that I’ll be trying out soon. Would adding traditional calzone ingredients like ricotta and (well-wrung) spinach, albeit mixed with mozzarella and parmesan, to the pull-apart pizza cause it to sog out, do you think? Are calzone fillings on a pizza just a stupid idea? (We love ricotta in this house beyond all reason.)

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are free to customize your pizza with some ricotta but it won’t need much- you don’t want to weigh it down too much, and risk burning the cheese before the dough is done. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. Deb

      Maybe you could make a dip with the ricotta and spinach? Whiz the ricotta in the blender with softened cream cheese and enough milk to get the consistency you like. My mother once mixed the two when she had to stretch the ricotta for a bigger lasagna than she planned. It was delicious. Chop the spinach after draining and stir into the cheese mixture along with whatever your “usual” seasonings are. I don’t know how this will turn out – I just thought it up (like the White Knight in Alice) but it sounds plausible. You could even microwave it have a warm sauce.

  3. Anne

    I’m going to try the chop version, and plop a bit of thick marinara here and there before I fold it. And maybe I’ll have some on the side for dipping. Mmmmm.

    Reply
  4. Becky

    I love this idea and can’t wait to try it! I think the bacon and potato version would be great for a breakfast potluck.

    Reply
  5. Martina

    Ooooh, you’ve got my gears turning now!! What if you mixed the solid toppings into the dough before chopping, then pan it up, brush with just a touch of sauce and top with diced cheese? I guess I know what I’m making this week, if not tonight!!

    Reply
  6. Della

    What great ideas for pizza’s. Both of these pull a-part pizza have definitely got my juices flowing. Now that’s really thinking outside of the box. You have opened up a whole new thought process about pizza. Look out plain old pizza pie!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      It might be a little tricky with a softer GF dough, but with a little patience and some parchment to help with the shaping and folding, I think you could get something quite similar. ~ MJ

  7. susan crawford

    This roundup is fantastic. PJ Hamel is the bomb! I cant wait to try the artisan pizza and the “tear and share” bubble pizza..

    Reply
  8. Janice

    We also like to do a sweet chopped pizza. Same idea but instead of pepperoni, I use apple slices – a little cinnamon if you like. Served with a thin cream cheese frosting makes a delicious morning treat!

    Reply
  9. sandy

    We made one with a combination of dough, caramelized onions, cheddar, and cooked bacon for dinner last night. I baked it on parchment and used a tart ring to contain it. When it was done baking, I took off the ring and slide it onto a serving plate. It was very good and very interesting looking. Next time I will add more cheese.

    Reply
    1. sandy

      Janice- Your are so right. A creamy potato soup would be wonderful with the bacon and cheese. We actually had it with Mulligatawny Soup and it worked well with the curry in the soup.

  10. Sue

    Perfect meal for a night where we were hunkered down weathering winter storm Anna. Both dishes just about polished off! It was delicious.

    Reply
  11. Kathleen

    I made the potato version tonight, added carmelized onions, and LOVED IT! No sauce needed. Plenty of gooey cheese and not at all dry. This will be a new “go to” recipe that is easily modified!

    Reply
  12. Laurie

    I made this for our Super Bowl party filled with mozzarella, cheddar, and parmigiana. It was delicious! Next time I might brush the dough with garlic butter before adding the cheese. A sharp chef’s knife easily cut through the dough. Looking forward to making this again!

    Reply
  13. sandy

    This is the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend and my 13 year old grandsons stayed with me and we counted birds. It is great fun and they learn a lot. They also enjoy learning to cook and yesterday one of them made a pull apart pizza. I made the dough early. After several birding sessions, the dough was ready and my grandson put the pizza together. He used dough, sliced ham, some crumbled meatballs, and Italian cheeses. It turned out great and we ate it with tomato dipping sauce. Now he’ll be able to make these at home for his dad and brother.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Amy, we find the gooey, cheesiness is part of what makes this so delicious and fun, but you’re certainly welcome to give it a try with a light layer of sauce and topping. Or you might also try it with daiya or another dairy-free cheese. However you try it, we hope you enjoy it! Mollie@KAF

  14. Angie Wagner

    This was a big hit and easy to change up. I used cooked Italian sausage, sautéed onion, banana peppers and mozzarella cheese. My granddaughter was skeptical, but gave it a thumbs up with a full mouth. We dipped it in warm pizza sauce. It also reheated very well. A real keeper.

    Reply

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