Eating a sandwich on the beach or near a nice tree is a simple but profound pleasure, but one that can be easily ruined by soggy bread or, conversely, bread so crusty and chewy that it hurts one’s tender mouth. Fortunately, the sandwich considerers at America’s Test Kitchen have isolated the perfect bread for picnics, hiking trips, and beach jaunts—a loaf of baked pizza dough.
When arranged into a square-ish shape and baked in the oven, pizza dough turns into a chewy but still tender loaf of bread that is almost ciabatta but, lucky for the roof of my mouth and my weak jaw, not quite ciabatta. It can be slathered with condiments and piled with pickles while still retaining its structure, which is more than I can say for the bread at Subway, which sogs out in a matter of minutes. (Why am I singling out Subway? I had an Italian BMT last week and I am still mad about the soggy bread.)
Yes, using pizza dough as bread does require a small amount of baking on your part, but only baking—no mixing, no measuring. All you have to do is buy some refrigerated pizza dough, cover it with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise on greased parchment for about an hour. Then, bake it in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes. (Give ATK’s instructions a read-through for the finer points.)
I’m going to level with you, I was not totally sober when I made this bread, and I definitely did not follow the instructions to the letter. I set the temp at 400℉ instead of 425℉, forgot to brush the loaf with oil, then forgot about it entirely and let it bake for nearly 35 minutes. It still turned out great, which is another win for the pizza dough bread.
After the bread cooled completely, I used it to make a sandwich filled with various cured meats, lots of mayo, olive tapenade, mozz, and pickles, then stuffed it into a sandwich bag to hang out in the fridge overnight. (I also made a near-identical, smaller sandwich and ate it immediately.) The next morning, I took it out of the fridge and let it sit at room-temperature for several hours, then ate it. The day-old, post-fridge sandwich was almost indistinguishable from the one I had eaten the night before, if not a little better.
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What does all of this mean? It means pizza dough bread is a perfect choice for people who love thick, pressed sandwiches with lots of hearty fillings, but detest soggy and/or aggressively chewy, sharp bread. It’s also good news for people who love to pack a lunch and take it into nature, as this bread handles temperature fluctuations and long periods of inactivity incredibly well. My only criticism is that the bread itself is kind of plain, but that is easily remedied by pressing some coarse salt, parmesan cheese, or even olives or herbs into the top of the loaf before baking it—a move I fully plan to execute next time (and believe you me, there will be a next time).
Pizza Dough Makes Super Sandwich Bread | America’s Test Kitchen