Crazy Pizza Bread

When Rachael of Fuji Mama asked me if I’d be interested in developing a recipe for Lindsay Olive’s Back-To-School Challenge, I immediately said yes. See, at first all I heard was “Rachael…Fuji Mama…Lindsay Olives…” and of course, at some point someone mentioned food. What was there to think about? I love Rachael, I love olives, and olives are food. It was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

Then, of course, the whole “challenge” part of the deal suddenly started sinking in. For one, it’s a back-to-school theme. Which means kids. Kids who might start crying if they open up their lunchbox and find something they really don’t want to eat. And as much as I love olives now, I wasn’t a big fan of them when I was a kid. Growing up, I had great appreciation for recipes that disguised the olives. I could not, for the life of me, understand how my mom could snack on olives and appear to enjoy them without gagging.

Of course, now I do the same thing. Whenever I pop open a can of olives for a recipe, I snack on whatever is left. And it’s not because olives are good for you (they are) or that they’ll make my skin look much better (they will). It’s just that I absolutely love their taste, even though it did take me more than a few years to get to this point.

But of course, this isn’t about me. It’s about lunchbox recipes for kids heading back to school—recipes that have olives in them that all kids will love, whether or not they’re crazy about olives. And so the wheels in my head went ’round and ’round, and I decided that I wouldn’t try to be too fancy or elaborate (kids appreciate simple food) and it had to be something that a busy mom can make without too much fuss.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

Enter Crazy Pizza Bread.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

I need to back up a minute here. My original idea was to create Crazy Pizza Sticks, each one like a little pizza crust twist thingie filled with gooey cheese and combo pizza toppings. The problem was that it was a bit messy to make. They came out great but I wasn’t looking forward to going through the motions of making the sticks again. So while the taste was a winner, the method needed to be made easier. A lot easier.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

So I decided instead to make a pizza loaf instead. Since I loved the gooey cheese in the middle of the sticks, my plan was to fill the loaf with cheese inside then bake it as a whole loaf and slice it up into lovely “sticks.” This way was much easier, and based on the fact that the two boys in the house polished off an entire loaf in practically one sitting then had all the leftover pizza loaf slices and original sticks COLD for breakfast the next day, it was safe to assume that the taste was still a homerun.

You can make this the night before and pack it for lunch the next day. Just cut 1-inch thick slices, wrap them in foil, and lightly toast them before packing them in the lunchbox. Send your little one off with a small bowl of tomato soup or a container of marinara dipping sauce, and they’ll be the envy of the lunchroom. Or make it a special afternoon snack to welcome them home after a long day at school.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

I also love that you can let the kids help you make this. They’ll have fun getting their hands in it and mixing everything into the dough. Let them add their favorite toppings, too! Mushrooms, pineapple, bacon, sausage, different kinds of cheeses—let them create their own variety of pizza bread! And if they make it, they’re more likely to eat it.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

For a grown up version, try adding a few roasted garlic cloves, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. If you love anchovies but need to share the loaf with less adventurous tikes, make a puttanesca sauce for dipping. That way, you get to enjoy anchovies in your pizza without the kids wrinkling their nose at you.


Crazy Pizza Bread
Serves 4 to 6

Use your favorite pizza toppings for this. I used red bell peppers, green peppers and pepperoni to keep it kid-friendly. Other suggested add-ins: caramelized onions and roasted garlic (dry roast unpeeled cloves on a skillet for about 5 minutes, then finely mince or mash into a paste). If using a topping that will render fat, microwave it for a minute or two to prevent the fat from rendering into the dough while baking, which will alter the texture of the bread.

Serve with a simple marinara sauce or tomato soup for dipping.


1 teaspoon yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Lindsay Chopped California Ripe Olives or 1/2 cup Lindsay Large Pitted Black Ripe Olives, sliced
1 1/2 cups favorite toppings, chopped
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a bowl. Let it sit for 3 minutes until foamy, then add in flour and salt. Mix (using a mixer, spoon, or your hands) just until it comes together. Add in the olives and toppings and combine well. Dough will be tacky, but feel free to dust with a bit more extra flour if it feels too tacky. Let rise for about 1 hour, then put in the refrigerator for another hour.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and flour a Silpat or waxed paper. Roll out into a rectangle about 11×17”. Sprinkle cheese over top. Then, using the Silpat or paper, fold along the long side, like an envelope. Seal sides so cheese is not exposed. Let rest while you preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let oven stay at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Bake the bread, either on a pizza stone or baking sheet, for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. About 3 minutes before taking it out, lightly brush the top with olive oil and let it finish baking. Let rest on a wire rack to cool slightly before slicing.

To pack for lunch, wrap slices in foil and lightly toast before putting it in a lunchbox. Include a small container of tomato soup or marinara sauce for dipping.

The Ivory Hut: Crazy Pizza Bread

Oh, and resist slicing into it immediately. It burns. Don’t ask me how I know this.


Full disclosure: For developing this recipe, I received a few cans of different varieties of Lindsay Olives to play with, along with a nominal fee as compensation for participating in Lindsay’s Back-To-School Olive Challenge. But the cheese was all mine, baby. All mine. And so was the burn on my finger from the hot stone. But I don’t really want to talk about that right now.


56 thoughts on “Crazy Pizza Bread”

    1. Thanks, Jessica! The great thing about this is that you can use any dough you have. Pizza dough, bread dough, even dinner roll dough. Then throw in any toppings you want, and you’re all set!

  1. I love how colorful this bread is with all the different ingredients! Also, your note totally cracked me up! Seriously, you are hilarious. :-)

    1. Yes, it was indeed quite colorful. I may have been admiring the color too intently, which caused the not-to-be-discussed burn. :)

  2. Let’s see how about “Ta-Dow Olive Loaf”…I am drooling all over my laptop right now. Fortunately for me my monkeys love olives. They always put them on their fingers which reminds me of that scene from “Legend’s” with the elderberry juice :)

  3. Looks great, my kids are into Pizza Dunkers…we make dough sticks with the cheese in the center and they dunk them in sauce…I like you suggestions. I haven’t thought to start adding anything (mmmm carmalized onions) to the Dunkers but will now, thanks!

  4. yum! i worked at a bread shop way back in highschool and we used to make a pizza bread that i loved! it was always great dipped in marinara sauce!! this totally brings me back!

  5. I am in love with this idea! It is a perfect snack to pack for the husband’s lunch! Only problem is that I may eat it all before it makes it to his lunch sack.

  6. I saw this recipe on The Kitchn and immediately scoured my fridge and freezer to see what pizza goodies I could stuff in this bread. Luckily I found pepperoni, Italian sausage, olives and sun-dried tomatoes. I can’t wait to taste the final product!

    1. Christine, this should make enough dough for a 1-pound loaf. With the added toppings and the cheese filling, it ends up being one substantial loaf. Of course, if you too have hungry boys in the house with bottomless pits for stomachs, you might want to consider doing a double batch. :)

  7. I too am wondering if it’s possible to subsitute WW Flour…I’m assuming we may need to add Vital Wheat Gluten though…anyone try this recipe with WW flour?

  8. I have a question since I am not a bread baker. At what point do you punch it down after it has risen? Before it goes in the fridge? It looks amazing!

  9. My question…how do you print just the recipe? I print them off and put them in a clear sleeve in a binder for quick reference. Do you have to print the whole blog? My computer skills were developed later in life and I need help! LOVE you blog! baking your recipes in Montana! :)

  10. This recipe was easy and so yummy!!! Helps with the pizza craving . . I love that it is so versatile. I will try bread flour next time. And yes .. a baking stone would be best. Gives that nice crust on the bottom.

  11. Making if for supper tonight! one question: in the instructions, you say not to add the cheese until you roll out the dough but it looks like you added it to the dough with all of the other toppings in the picture. What’s correct?

    Also, I’m trying half whole wheat bread flour. I’m pretty experienced with baking bread so I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll let the other curious readers know how it gets!

    1. Hi Zoe! Sharp eye you got there. Yes, two of the photos indeed show the cheese mixed in with the toppings (the first photo of the dough in the bowl, and one of the photos of all the toppings together in a bowl). Those photos were from my first recipe testing, and while the end product was still good, I thought it lacked a nice gooey cheese punch. The cheese bits throughout the dough also released a bit of oil, making the dough cook slightly unevenly. So I decided to instead to mix in the toppings first, then add the cheese in one layer before forming the loaf, which finally did the trick. (This after about 5 or 6 different experiments with slight variations.)

      Let me know how it goes for you!

      1. So delicious! Next time I will saute and DRAIN my mushrooms before adding them to the dough. It was a little soggy (but not underbaked). Still, it was great dipped in tomato soup!

        And of course it was fine with the whole wheat flour. I couldn’t even tell I used it.

  12. I am making mine tonight! Glad to see that the whole-wheat flour works, that’s all I use. Have you ever made just a veggie one, with things like spinach, zucchini, sun dried tomato’s? The onion’s are cooked from the picture, do they need to be before I add it to the dough?

  13. We made this to have with dinner this evening. I have to say that it is interesting how you came up with the idea, and I am glad you did! This was absolutely delicious! It was the first time that we made it, but certainly won’t be the last!

  14. Made four loaves of this bread today at work. I had to give them all away because I pretty much finished off an entire loaf on my own. Love love love! Will definitely make more!

  15. It didn’t work very well for me. I loved the photos and the idea but when I made it up the mixture was super wet and there seemed to be too much toppings for the small amount of dough. I put in extra flour but it still came out too wet from the oven. May just be me though as it seems to have worked for some. Love the idea though and will try again.

  16. I made this… It is raising as I type…. But I cheated… I have an extremely simple go to Italian bread dough…. I just cut back on the flour a little and mixed in the goodies… They look marvelous so far!

  17. I have three loaves rising right now (doubled each recipe. Two are gifts). This looks crazy good! I am going to add the cheese, but one of the loaves will then be placed in a terra cotta flower pot (new of course :D), so I’ll find a way to place it with cheese in the middle.

  18. First, this looks Amazing and your toppings are just perfect with a little bit of everything sure to please all. We do home made Pizza every Friday evening with about 15 family members.We’ve done this for almost a year now. Lately it has become a bit blah, I can’t wait for this Friday to bring this pretty pizza loaf to shake things up a bit. So thank you for this divine inspiration. I am sure there will be as many happy tummies as there are family members at pizza night! Again, Thank you for giving us this amazing Crazy Pizza bread recipe.
    P.s. I hear that if you place the olives on your fingers just like the kiddos, it relieves and soothes the pain of burnt fingers. At the very least it will make you smile!

    Thanks again,

  19. WOW… made this twice this summer at the cottage for my friends…it was a smash hit. Great idea for any party and so easy to make.

Leave a Reply