Pigs in a blanket rolls are easy to make and use smoked sausage and homemade bread dough instead of Pillsbury crescent rolls. These healthier appetizers are perfect for kids and adults alike!
For the Dough
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour (500g)
- 2 teaspoons fine salt (10g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (15g)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (60g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (300 ml)
For the Filling & Decoration
- 2 pre-cooked smoked sausages
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 22 black peppercorns
- Several wooden toothpicks
Making & Proving the Dough (25 minutes + 1 hour proving)
- Warm the milk to 115 F in a small saucepan or in the microwave. If you’re using the microwave, poke a small wooden spoon or wooden skewer into the milk to break the surface tension and prevent it from exploding.
- Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring in each one with your hand. Mix in the sugar.
- Dump in the softened butter, one egg, and half of the milk. Stir the mixture with your hand to start bringing the dough together. Gradually trickle in the milk as you mix until a soft, sticky dough has formed and all the flour is picked up from the bowl. You may not need all the milk.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough passes the windowpane test and has a glossy sheen on its surface. Test the dough by grasping a lump of dough between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and stretching it. If it stretches until it’s translucent, the dough is well kneaded; if not, knead for a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Shaping & Proving the Rolls (40 minutes + a little proving time)
- Lightly dust a 11 by 17-inch rimmed cookie sheet with flour.
- Slice the sausages into 11 pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches long. Beat one egg in a small bowl.
- Punch down the dough all over to knock out excess air, then divide it into 12 equal pieces using a kitchen scale for accuracy. The twelfth piece is for the ears, noses, and tails of the pigs.
- To shape the rolls, roll out a blob of dough into a circle. Brush a piece of sausage with beaten egg to help it stick to the dough, and place it in the middle of the dough circle. Bring up the edges of the dough around the sausage and pinch the ends together to seal. Place the roll seam side down on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing them a few inches apart.
- Brush the rolls with beaten egg. Roll out the remaining dough and use a small, sharp cookie cutter to cut circular noses for the pigs. Brush them with egg and stick them on the pigs. Use a toothpick to make the nostrils.
- Snip little pieces of dough to make ears and a tail for each pig. Brush them with egg wash and stick them on the pigs, using small pieces of wooden toothpick to hold them in place if needed. Put on the peppercorn eyes.
- Let the pigs prove until the dough springs back quickly when gently pressed with a fingertip and the rolls have noticeably increased in size. The rolls need about 30-45 minutes total of proving time. Go by the look and feel of the rolls, not by time.
- About 10 minutes before the pigs are done proving, preheat the oven to 400 F.
Baking the Pigs (20 minutes)
- Bake the pigs at 400 F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the pigs are a rich golden brown and have an internal temperature of about 200 F. After 10 minutes, check the rolls and cover any dark spots, like the ears, with aluminum foil.
- Let the pigs cool on a wire rack, then serve warm. Store leftover rolls in the fridge and reheat before serving.
- Use bread flour. All-purpose lacks the protein content necessary for a chewy texture and high rise.
- Don’t skimp on the kneading. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see recipe card for details).
- Change up the sausage based on your personal preferences.
- Remove any toothpicks before eating the rolls.
- Eat within 24 hours, or freeze for up to 1 month. Be sure to refrigerate them because of the sausage inside.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pigs in a blanket from scratch, best pigs in a blanket recipe