I Tried Nadiya Hussain’s Pull-Apart Pizza Bread and It’s A Delicious Showstopper

published Dec 11, 2021
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Like many home chefs, I love Nadiya Hussain, TV chef/presenter, cookbook author, novelist, mother, mental health advocate, and, of course, fan-favorite winner of “The Great British Baking Show.”

During our dark pandemic winter, I watched “Nadiya Bakes” on repeat. The show alternates teaching baking basics with reimagining delicacies (anise madeleines, chicken-stuffed donuts, “tutti frutti” meringue). “Nadiya lets us know it’s okay to feel grief, anxiety, depression and stress,” wrote Meghan O’Keefe for The Decider. “She understands the importance of a comforting dessert at the end of a bad day because she’s had bad days. ‘Nadiya Bakes’ celebrates finding the light in a world overwhelmed by darkness.” 

 Hussain’s pull-apart pizza bread, from Episode 3 of the series, is now a family favorite. This cottony loaf is a bliss to eat and a cinch to make — a very impressive-looking showstopper that is deceptively easy to shape.

Here’s how it went: 

Hussain’s recipe uses self-raising flour, flour with the baking powder and a bit of salt already added. For every cup of self-raising flour in her recipe (3 ⅓ cups total), I substituted with 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. The dough comes together quickly — stretchy, smooth, shiny, and a little tacky — and is easy to work with, even for the smallest hands. 

Hussain also calls for sriracha and pepperoni. I opted for jarred marinara sauce and eliminated the pepperoni. (I gave up on meat years ago.)

As I said, shaping is easy. In Hussain’s method, spread the sauce and cheese and spices over rolled-out dough, slice the sheet into squares, and stack the squares sideways into a loaf pan. For my neater presentation — I’m very exacting in the kitchen — I rolled my dough ½-inch thick; cut circles out of the dough; laid my filling on half of each circle; and folded the circles in half and placed them, round side up, in a loaf pan.

My honest review: 

This bread is a fluffy, squishy, savory delight; what’s not to like? It’s a pizza in loaf form, with a silky, delicate, slightly sweet crumb, thanks to the addition of the baking powder. It’s the perfect snack for after school or movie night, or as part of a meal, alongside a bowl of soup or pasta. It’s also a very fun bread: the Brits call such breads “tear and share” (rather than pull-apart, as we do in the U.S.), and it’s a real joy when my daughter and I, together, achieve that epic “cheese pull.” 

5 tips for making Nadiya Hussain’s pull-apart pizza bread:

  1. Use the tangzhong method for a softer, fluffier loaf. In breadmaking, tangzhong is a mixture of flour and water and/or milk that is cooked on the stovetop before it’s added along with other ingredients. Cooking pre-gelatinizes the starches in the flour, meaning it can absorb more water, making the final bread springier and more resistant to staling.
  2. Choose your own adventure. Like pizza, Hussain’s bread can be customized with your family’s favorite toppings: Roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives. My takes have included beet green pesto and smoked mozzarella and  herbed butter and scallions. 
  3. Shape your dough cold. Cold dough is easier to handle than room temperature dough. 
  4. Use store-bought pizza dough. Your bread will be just as tasty, and you will have saved time!
  5. Reheat leftovers (if you have any!) in the microwave. While the bread is best warm from the oven, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat slices in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.