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The other day, Lenny was eating a stuffed crust pizza and said something along the lines of “I’m going to have one more slice. I don’t really want one though. I just want the crust”. That man is a genius. Which is surprising considering that I’m always right and he’s always wrong. Go figure.
So naturally, I had to figure out how to make a pizza without the pizza part. Just a big chewy, cheesy disc of stuffed crust. Yes, I could have just made stuffed breadsticks but I know what you’re thinking – “You had me at ‘chewy cheese disc'”. I got you. Breadsticks just sound boring at this point.
You know the only thing that could possibly make cheese stuffed crust even better? Make it out of what is essentially Brazilian cheese bread. Meaning even more cheese baked into an extra chewy crust. I feel like, before I scare anybody off, I should mention that this is dairy free and gluten free.
I was going to use my multi-purpose dough for the crust. It seemed like the obvious choice since it makes great pizza but I really wanted something chewier to go with the stretchy melty “cheese” I was going to pack in there. And since I still haven’t figured out a good recipe for dairy free Brazilian cheese bread, I used a box of Chebe pizza crust which I’m sure tastes better than any version I could make. They add the perfect amount of oregano, onion, and garlic to the mix. I think you probably could use my dough recipe if you wanted to make something more from scratch (I might omit the shredded cheese though) but I really think the Chebe crust is the better option for this recipe.
I know you guys have seen me use the Daiya brand of dairy free cheese before. Several times, actually! No, they’re not sponsoring my posts. I’m just kind of obsessed with their products. Well, I was at the store trying to think of the best method for stuffing their mozzarella into the bread. They don’t sell the mozzarella in blocks but they had slices or shreds. Both sound kind of messy for this recipe. Well, you’ll never believe what I found. Mozzarella style “cheeze” sticks. They’re new and my grocery store just started carrying them. Perfect timing. It’s like it was meant to be ❤️
I had to figure out how I was going to get them to bend enough to roll up into the spiral chewy disc of cheese you see in the photos. It was either warm them to soften or score them with a knife. I decided I didn’t want to risk melting it so I scored it in several places with a sharp paring knife. You can see photos in the recipe below. My knife pretty much sliced down through the whole thickness of the cheese stick which is fine too.
After rolling up the crust, it’s about 8 inches in diameter. Which is probably about the size of a personal pizza if you really want to go there (no judgement). I think the best use for this is to cut it into 4 or 6 pieces and serve it as an appetizer. I garnished mine with shredded fresh basil and red pepper flakes then served it with pizza sauce for dipping.
An 8 inch “pizza” made entirely of chewy, cheesy stuffed crust. Makes a great appetizer for pizza night! Gluten and dairy free.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF and dust a large work surface and rolling pin with the starch (you’ll be rolling out dough that’s only 2 inches wide but about 3 feet long).
- Use a fork to mix together the pizza crust mix, olive oil, eggs, milk substitute, and cheddar style shreds then knead with your hands until well combined. If it’s too dry, add just a little water or additional milk substitute about a teaspoon at a time. Be careful not to add too much.
- Transfer the dough to your prepared work surface. Roll it out into a long, thin strip of dough. You need it to be about 2 inches wide in order to wrap it around the cheese sticks. You should have enough dough to roll it out to 3 feet in length. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exact.
- Lay the mozzarella sticks along the length of the dough. Choose a couple thicker sticks to cut in half (lengthwise) so you can cover the dough from end to end. I recommend putting the halved ones all towards one end. Once you roll it up, the thinner end will be the middle, tightly rolled section of the pizza.
- Once the cheese is in place, gently press it partway into the dough then use a sharp paring knife to score the cheese sticks. This helps the cheese bend enough to be rolled up.
- Fold the sides of the dough around the cheese and use your hands to mold it into one long, smooth log.
- Starting at the thinner end of the log, begin rolling the crust into a spiral. As you roll, dip your fingertips in water to moisten the starchy areas and encourage the dough to stick to itself.
- Secure the end of the dough with a toothpick. Add more tooth picks anywhere the dough looks thin to prevent cracking and spreading while baking. Bake for about 15 minutes or until fully baked with a crusty outside. Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks.
- To serve, you can slice and enjoy as-is or you can add some garnishes and/or dip in pizza sauce. Basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes all make great garnishes for this recipe.