Pepperoni Rolls

I remember way back as a kid my mom was watching the Phil Donahue show (oh my that dates me) and Phil was featuring a lady who was promoting a more simple self-sufficient lifestyle.  She had a goat with her and she was talking all about homesteading and country living.

The lady’s name was Carla Emery.  She was touting her book Carla Emery Encyclopedia of Country Living.  My mom ordered the book immediately.  A short time later we had goats and my mom was making soap from goat milk and was making goat milk yogurt.  My mom dived in hook, line, and sinker.

This was pre-internet life and the book was amazing.  If you want to know anything from how to birth a baby at home to butchering a chicken to raising rabbits for meat to recipes for radishes, this book had it all.

I have a copy of the original green cover versions.


The book has gone and had updates added to it including internet resources.  Below is a picture of Emery with one of the other editions.

Emery has since passed away but her book lives on as an essential resource for modern-day homesteaders or people simply longing for a great resource for a more self-sustained lifestyle.  On a side note, the author also includes many interesting entries about her own personal life.  It’s a great read.  The book is still available HERE on Amazon.

One recipe that I got from the book and has lived on my family is this recipe…Grossmamma Baum’s Basic Yeast Bread.  It’s a ratio recipe that I love.  I’ve gone and modified it a bit to my liking but for the most part, it’s much the same.

I use this for making cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, fry bread, sticky buns, and rolls.

Some of the updates to the recipe I’ve done is to use bread flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.  As I said, I use this dough for other things besides bread.  On this day a three loaf version.


I turned half into cinnamon rolls…

The other half I was trying something new…Pepperoni Rolls.  The last time Kalissa and I went to the Amish, one of the bakeries were featuring Pepperoni Rolls.  Kalissa and I got them and LOVED them.

We decided that we thought it was bread dough with pepperoni and cheese inside and rolled into a bun.  I decided to give it a try.

Here are my two pans.


Here they are almost finished.  I sent a note to Karl and Kalissa and said, “Coming soon to a kitchen near you.”  That was their fair warning to save some calories to give these a try.


Carver was all smiles over the cinnamon rolls…


I was excited to try a Pepperoni Roll.


I wished they would have browned a little more on top, but they were done so needed to come out.  I cut one in half so I could show you how they looked.


They were delicious.  I’d say the flavor was a 10 but I still wish they looked a little better.

Kalissa and Karl didn’t care about the coloring at all.  They were both in love so I’m calling it a success.

Does anyone know how to get the coloring darker on top, but not on the bottom of the roll darker?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.

55 thoughts on “Pepperoni Rolls

  1. Rose Waltz

    Hi Jo,
    I dont think Ive seen yeast cakes here. How many dry
    yeast packets would i use?

    Also, my mother made pepperoni roll. She rolled out the dough, then placed pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, then rolled the whole thing up. She baked it whole, then sliced
    it when it cooled a bit. It always browned. Give it a try.

    Reply
  2. Annette

    Do you think brushing some melted butter on the pizza rolls before baking would make them a little browner?
    They sure do looks delicious and the cinnamon rolls do too!

    Reply
  3. Kate

    They all look delicious! I don’t know, but I w wonder if you brushed them with butter before baking, or maybe bake on higher shelf in oven. When you figure it out, let us know!! Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Janette

    You could try using the broiler for a short time, maybe a minute. Make sure they are at least 6 inches away from the element and watch them carefully.

    Reply
  5. SandyO

    Hi Jo, I just had an email from 365 days of baking and more and she had a recipe for Pepperoni bread. You may want to check it out. Yours look so yummy. Love your blog and look forward to reading it every day.

    Reply
  6. Cheryl

    They all look delicious! I wonder if an egg wash would brown them up. I sure they taste amazing whether they are browned or not.

    Reply
  7. Charlotte

    An egg wash would work to help the tops brown. The pepperoni rolls I’ve seen were made in a similar way to cinnamon rolls. Roll out the dough, brush with a thin layer of tomato sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese/chopped pepperoni, roll, slice. Thanks for the bread dough recipe! I’m always looking for a new to me recipe, especially for a soft dough.

    Reply
  8. Robby H.

    You can brush a little milk or butter on the pepperoni rolls before putting them in to bake. I think I might melt the butter and mix in a couple dashes of garlic powder before I brushed it on. We love garlic with our pizza, so…

    Reply
  9. MARY DAVIS

    I peeked into your oven and your rack is positioned very low. I think if you raise the rack to the center of the oven they should brown evenly on top and bottom. They look yummy.

    Reply
  10. Linnea

    My mama always brushed melted real butter over the tops of her homemade bread and rolls to get that browner color. Also if you have a propane gas operating oven vs an electric stove/oven things just don’t brown real well in them for some reason.

    Reply
  11. Margaret in North Texas

    Oh my, they look scrumptious –I can understand Carver liking the cinnamon rolls with all that yummy frosting!!

    Reply
  12. Louverna

    Hi Jo:
    The original pepperoni roll started in Fairmont, West Virginia, by an Italian baker. (In the 1920’s.) He made them for coal miners to put into their lunch pails when they worked in the coal mines. They are oblong in shape about 3-4 inches long. You can use stick or sliced pepperoni, and some have cheese in them. Pepperoni rolls are a staple in West Virginia.

    Reply
  13. CindyD

    Spritzing them with spray oil before baking might help them brown without adding calories – I do that when I bake chicken coated with panko.

    Reply
  14. Paula Nordt

    Where it says yeast cake, could you use a small packet of dry yeast instead? I have not ever seen a cake of yeast.

    Reply
  15. Debbie Harmon

    Check out breadmachinediva.com on the internet. I know, she is all about bread machines, but with her pepperoni rolls recipe she shows how to shape the rolls. I make the dough often in my bread machine.

    Reply
  16. Grace Withers

    I would brush them with butter. I love this idea, these would make great lunches. Those cinnamon rolls look scrumptious. I have that book and it is a must have, I think all homes should have one. I enjoyed her daughter Esther Emry’s blog and youtube. But she has gone offline for some years now. Her family had the Fouch Family Off Grid Youtube channel also. I really miss her.

    Reply
  17. Margie

    Jo, I am interested in this recipe. Do you use packages of yeast? I have always shied away from using yeast, but your recipe makes me want to try. Didn’t know yeast came in cakes. Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Sarah

    Move your oven rack up so the rolls are in the center of the oven—that’ll give the tops more time to cook without overcooking the bottom.
    Brush the tops with egg or milk/cream. The proteins in eggs & milk will give you the browning effect you’re after.
    Placement of the rolls—if you want softer rolls, put the rolls next to each other. If you want the rolls to be
    crispier, spread them out. It also affects the finished browning on the top.
    Good luck—I may have to go make some of these myself!

    Reply
  19. Sherry

    I think brushing the tops with butter should do the trick.
    And an ad for Metformin obscured every image, so I couldn’t take a screen shot of the recipe. Boo!

    Reply
  20. Kris in WI

    Oh, Carla Emery’s big green book takes me back to my Mother Earth days! I doubt the thrift store would want it in its condition, and I haven’t been able to let it go into the recycling bin. The pages with the whole wheat bread and home made yogurt probably have the most drips, spills, and pencil notes on them! The story of how the book came about is a hoot! Hmm, Sunday is supposed to be a cool day…pizza rolls? Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  21. Lynn Walker

    Brush the bin tops with milk to help brown them. If you want then shiny as well use beaten egg. I use milk because I’m not bothered about shiny and I can just pour just enough milk into a bowl and not have any leftover as I probably would if I used a beaten egg.

    Reply
  22. Joy

    I have a few versions of Carla’s book included an old mimeographed copy from her early days. It’s as much of a staple in my library as the Foxfire books are (and I you’re interested in Appalachian living definitely check them out).

    I have a hard time imagining someone just discovering pepperoni rolls as they are a staple here. You can walk into just about any store and have a selection of plain pepperoni or with mozzarella or hot pepper cheese. When ramps are in season a few specialty bakers even include them and they sell out quickly. As for the browning I’ve never had a problem with getting the tops to brown using homemade dough without brushing the tops before baking. We reserve brushing the rolls with butter after they have baked. I suggest checking the temperature of your oven and try placing them on a middle rack. Also the darker your baking sheet, the quicker the bottoms will brown. I have a few darker non-stick pans and reduce the oven temperature by 25° when using them.

    Reply
  23. MarianneK

    Put the oven on broil mode and watch them like a hawk at the end of baking. That will give them a bit of nice color. They look delicious.

    Reply
  24. Kim from TN

    The bread recipe looks easy, and I want to try those pepperoni rolls. I might add some spices to my bread and see how it goes. Maybe some Italian spices, rosemary etc. Your cinnamon rolls also look delish, I can see why Carver was all smiles.

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      I have good neighbors but none who are crafty so I’d love to have a crafty neighbor Darlynn.

      Reply
  25. Susan

    Try placing a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet and place on rack in middle of oven. Lower rack is too hot and burns easily. I agree, try brushing tops with butter.

    Reply
  26. Nancy H

    I brush my rolls with a beat up egg and brush on top just before I bake them. Gives them a wonderful golden brown.

    Reply
  27. Denise F

    I purchased a copy of Carla Emery’s book years ago. The second it arrived I was lost inside loving all the content. This is a very thick book, but the amount of information is amazing. She was one smart lady.

    Reply
  28. Linda S.

    I have 2 copies of the book you mentioned. Carla’s daughter, Esther Emery–a homesteader herself, last I knew–wrote a book just a few years back entitled “What Falls from the Sky”, which chronicles her year free of the internet and the changes it brought about in her family. Very interesting read, I highly recommend it.

    Reply
  29. Christina

    Looks great , going to give it a try, Jo what’s your recipe for the cinnamon frosting? It looks yummy.

    Reply
  30. Christina

    oops, manage to find your frosting recipe, all I need to know what’s the weight of 2 sticks of butter, for us here in the UK, many thanks

    Reply
  31. Melissa

    You can also brush the rolls with some salted water to get them to brown more. I’ve done that with homemade bread.

    Reply

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