I Tried Nadiya Hussain’s Pull-Apart Pizza Bread and It’s A Delicious Showstopper
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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Shape your dough cold. Cold dough is easier to handle than room temperature dough.
- Use store-bought pizza dough. Your bread will be just as tasty, and you will have saved time!
- 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.