This is not the kind of appetizer you make lightly.
This is what you make when you have a voracious crowd of beer-drinking enthusiasts demanding to be fed. It’s the kind of recipe that takes love, effort, and a considerable amount of patience. And it is absolutely NOT something you should make just for you and your husband.
Things will end badly, trust.
Pull-apart breads are dangerous because two people can literally consume the whole thing. I sadly know this from experience, so if you need a reference my jeans will tell you. But if you’re smart enough to serve this for a party, and NOT a casual snack for two — the shame is real — the danger is minimal. Because with several hands battling it out for every last slice, you can’t possibly eat that much!
The more friends you have, the less regret this bread involves.
I modeled this recipe off of my philly cheesesteak crostini, so you’ll see a lot of similarities between the two. The filling consists of deli roast beef, caramelized onions, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Thyme is the seasoning of choice. And it’s practically exploding with crispy, crunchy, melty goodness. But the core difference is that the bread is made from scratch, AND it’s paired with provolone dipping sauce.
Because if you’re gonna steal ideas from yourself, make them better.
Like I said this recipe is a bit on the longer side, but I promise it’s worth every minute. You start by making a homemade pizza dough that rises in 30 mins, so don’t even try and buy pre-packaged junk — I’m watching you. While the dough rises make the provolone dipping sauce, which is pretty standard as far as cheese sauces are concerned. Create a roux, whisk in milk + shredded provolone, then season! It’s simple, fast, and kept warm on the stove while you’re cooking.
Next you sauté the onions, then combine them with the roast beef, shredded mozzarella cheese, and a touch of the provolone sauce. This filling is then plopped onto your dough, which you’ll roll out into a thin, flat sheet cut into squares. The pictures above are here to guide you, and just remember that when this much cheese is involved, there are NO mistakes!
Cheese heels all wounds.
Putting this puzzle together takes a decent amount of effort, but once those cheesy, meaty squares are slotted in a loaf pan, you’ll be thankful. Because in just 30 minutes you’ll be gnawing on a piping hot pull-apart bread that tastes just like philly cheesesteak, it is seriously so good. The smell is obviously incredible, the taste is clearly TO DIE, and that provolone dipping sauce?!
Get ready to go swimming. xo
Begin by preparing the dough. In a small saucepan warm the milk over a low flame, then add in the butter to melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted, transfer to large mixing bowl and add the sugar and salt. Let this mixture cool slightly, then add in the eggs and whisk until smooth. Lastly incorporate the yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and flour, stirring until the dough takes shape. Knead the dough inside the mixing bowl for several minutes, then cover bowl with saran wrap and allow dough to rise until approximately double in size, about 30 minutes. The dough is ready when you can press your finger into it and the indentation remains.
Meanwhile, prepare the provolone sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan, then quickly whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add 1 cup of milk to the roux and incorporate, then slowly begin to whisk in the shredded provolone until smooth. Continue to add the remaining 1 – 1 1/2 cups milk as you go, adjusting to reach your desired thickness. When you’re happy with the texture, lastly season with salt & pepper. Keep cheese sauce heated over a very low flame, whisking periodically to avoid seizing.
Next, prepare the filling. In a large skillet melt the butter over a medium flame, then stir in the onions and sauté until lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a mixing bowl to cool, then combine with the torn roast beef, shredded mozzarella, salt & pepper, thyme, and about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the provolone sauce (eyeball it as best you can!) stirring well until evenly mixed.
Once the dough has risen, turn the dough ball onto a heavily floured work surface. Using a rolling-pin roll out the dough into an evenly thin sheet — It will be pretty large, don’t worry! Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into a rectangle, then into smaller squares — try and size them as consistent as you can, but don’t stress. Use a pasty brush to coat each square in EVOO, then dollop an even amount of filling on top of each. Stack up each row of squares (one on top of the other) then transfer each stack into the greased loaf plan, arranging as neatly as possible.
dive on in.