Pizza braids are one of my go-to recipes for when I bring a meal to a family. Generally they are well received because they involve warm bread and pizza flavors. I like them because they are a bit different than the standard casserole or pasta dish and pretty easy to assemble. The hardest part is planning well enough in advance to let your bread dough rise.
Here are your ingredients: a loaf of frozen bread dough, your choice of spaghetti or pizza sauce, Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese and whatever pizza toppings you fancy. When I'm making them for a family who I don't know their toppings preference, I usually go pretty standard like pepperoni.
The first thing to do is to follow the standard instructions for thawing and letting the frozen bread dough rise. You'll need to grab a loaf pan, spray it with cooking spray, set the bread dough in the pan, cover the pan with cling wrap that has also been sprayed and place it in a warm place to rise for a few hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, it's time for action!
Sprinkle flour on your counter, rolling pin, and dough ball. Roll out the dough into a rectangle. This will take a little elbow grease, but you'll be fine (less of a workout than playing airplane with my 20 lb baby!).
Spread your sauce down the middle, not going all the way the ends. You will want to leave 2.5 inch space all the way around so you can cut strips. Follow with your pizza toppings, then the cheese. Sometimes I'll sprinkle on a little pizza seasoning too. Don't get crazy with toppings otherwise they'll leak out the sides.
Next is the cutting of the braid strips. Easy! Cut approximately 10-12 strips total on each side, around 1 inch apart. Cut pretty close to the toppings, but not too close otherwise you'll have leakage. You can leave wider strips on the ends.
Your finished product should look something like this.
Now for the braiding. Don't be afraid, it's really easy! All you have to do is start on one end, folding your end piece in. Now taking a strip from the left side, stretch it across the toppings to reach the other side. Repeat on the other side until you almost reach the base. Leave 2 or 3 strips on both sides because you need to fold the end piece up and then braid/cover with the remaining strips.
When you are done it will look like an papoose all wrapped up. Get a friend to help transfer to a baking sheet. It can be a little tricky ...
Easy peasy, lemon breezy. Bake at 375 degrees for ~20 minutes. Add an additional 10-15 minutes if baking frozen.