Host of "Ciao Italia," Mary Ann Esposito is baking a delicious cheesy bread out of basic pizza dough.

Ingredients for Sicilian Pizza Bread Loaf (Makes 1 loaf)

  • 1 pound Basic Pizza Dough or store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces caciocavallo cheese, thinly sliced and slices cut in half

Ingredients for Impasto Base Per La Pizza Basic Pizza Dough (makes 2 crusts)

  • 1½ cups warm (110°F) water, preferably filtered
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 to 3¼ cups Caputo or King Arthur 00 flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing the bowl

Sicilian Pizza Bread Loaf - Home & Family

Directions for Sicilian Bread Loaf

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, then line it with parchment paper. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 26 x 18-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread half of the sauce over the center of the dough. Lay half of the cheese slices over the sauce. Fold the left and right sides of the dough over the sauce, overlapping each other by 2 inches.

2. Spread the remaining sauce over the right side of the dough, then fold the left side over the sauce and pinch the ends closed.

3. Fold the dough in half from top to bottom and place it in the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
4. Uncover and pierce the top of the dough with the tines of a fork. Bake until the bread is dark brown, about 30-35 minutes.

5. Invert the loaf onto a cooling rack, then turn it upright. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into thick slices and serve warm.

Directions for Basic Pizza Dough

1. Pour the water into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the yeast and whirl to blend. Let stand for 10 minutes, until chalky and bubbles begin to appear. Add 2½ cups of the flour and the salt; whirl to combine and form a ball of dough that moves away from the sides of the bowl and is not tacky to the touch. Add more flour if the dough is very wet but be careful not to add too much flour or it will result in a dry, hard texture. The dough should be soft but not gooey.

2. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and coat the dough in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. The dough can be made a day ahead; after the rising step, punch it down and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until needed, then transfer the dough to a large bowl and allow it to stand for several hours at room temperature before forming the pizza.

3. When ready to form the pizza, punch down the dough and divide it in half. Stretch each half with your hands into a 10-inch circle. Place each piece on a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper.

4. Preheat the oven to 450°F at least 30 minutes before baking; heating a baking stone in the oven is ideal for a great crust but, lacking that, you can place the pizza with the parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet.

5. Divide the tomato sauce or tomatoes equally between the two pieces of dough. Scatter the mozzarella on top. Bake until the bottom and edges turn golden brown, about 15–20 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and scatter the basil leaves over the top. Cut in wedges and serve hot, with a drizzle of olive oil over each slice.

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