Move Over Breakfast Sandwich, the Breakfast Pizza Has Come to Town

The breakfast pizza has gone from hangover cure to trendy menu item.The idea of breakfast pizza used to mean slapping a fried egg on a slice of leftover pizza in the comfort of your own home after a late night. Now, they're becoming a popular menu item in restaurants across the country.

Pizza appears on 5 percent of all restaurant breakfast menus (both chain and independent), according to a new study by Datassential, a company that measures restaurant and food trends. It's featured on 18 percent more menus than it was five years ago. In 2010, Domino's introduced a breakfast pizza at a branch near the University of Dayton.

Now you can find breakfast pizzas at airports and malls across America. Pizza chain Sbarro sells a version with bacon, sausage, eggs, and mozzarella.

But the breakfast pizza is now popping up in upscale and trendy restaurants, too. The popular Brooklyn restaurant Roberta's serves eight different types of pizzas for brunch, including the "Guanciale and Egg, with tomato and mozzarella. Roberta's is much more than your typical pizzeria. It's been called one of New York's finest restaurants. Bill and Hillary Clinton stopped there for dinner during a trip to New York in September.

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Portland, Oregon's Sunshine Tavern serves a pizza of hen egg, Parmesan, wild oregano, and olive oil on their weekend lunch menu.

Gioia pizzeria in San Francisco offers a breakfast pizza on their brunch menu with Neuske bacon, Fontina, sunny side up eggs, and cherry tomatoes.

But what if you can't find a breakfast pizza at a restaurant near you? Don't worry-you can make your own. There are 25 different recipes for breakfast pizza on the Food Network's website alone. And Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen, a popular food blog and now cookbook, has a recipe for a delicious breakfast pizza with bacon, eggs, cheese, and chives.

The Smitten Kitchen's breakfast pizza.The Smitten Kitchen's Breakfast Pizza
Adapted, barely, from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook via an earlier version of it

Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas

1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 cups plus
2 tablespoons bread flour, plus more for dustingKosher salt
6 strips bacon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups grated mozzarella
6 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced

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The night before, prepare the dough: Place 3/4 cup lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes more. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and form each half into a tight ball. Place on a large floured sheet pan, place the pan in a plastic garbage bag, tie the bag loosely and refrigerate overnight.
One to two hours* before baking, place the dough in a warm spot. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and set a pizza stone on it. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the pizza.

Prepare the dough and toppings: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a paper-towel-lined plate; roughly chop.

Dip your hands and a ball of dough into the flour. On a lightly floured countertop, pat the dough into a disc with your fingertips, then drape the dough over your fists and carefully stretch it from beneath to form a 12-inch circle.

Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel or large inverted sheet pan with flour and place the stretched dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with half of the Parmesan, mozzarella and bacon. Crack 3 eggs over the top and season with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza: Shake the pizza peel slightly to make sure the dough is not sticking. Carefully lift any sections that are sticking and sprinkle a bit more flour underneath, then slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone in one quick forward-and-back motion. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes. When the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and the egg yolks are cooked, use the peel to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle half of the parsley, chives, scallions and shallot on top. Let cool for 2 minutes, slice and serve immediately. Prepare the second pizza in the same way.

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The original recipe suggests that you take the dough out one hour before baking but I took mine out two hours earlier, because I always find it takes a long time to get dough back to proofing at room temperature. In this time, you can lazily prepare the toppings and get your oven nice and hot.

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