Sandwich Loaf

Pizza Bread There is nothing quite as wonderful as the smell of fresh bread baking – unless of course it’s the first warm bite with butter dripping off your chin!!

We bake almost all of the bread the family eats – partially because it’s better for us – but mostly because it’s so much cheaper!

On bread baking day during the winter months we like to have soup for supper with our fresh bread. But in the warm months – we often make a sandwich loaf.

This week’s was a pizza loaf – but you could fill it with anything you wish. (My sister made a yummy ham and cheese version that she shared at a recent family get-together.)

The process is simple.

Take a hunk of dough – the equivalent of about 1 loaf  (you can use frozen bread dough for this)  and roll it out on into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on a greased cookie sheet.

Take a knife and very lightly score the bread into 3 sections lengthwise. There should be 3 long skinny sections.

Working on the outside sections, take a knife and cut slits diagonally from the outside edge to the scored line – making cool little dough fringe .

Do this to both outside sections.

Now look at your middle section – and get creative.

Pile it with whatever toppings you wish, leaving about an inch at the top and the bottom.

Here’s some filing ideas – but don’t be limited to these – this is a great way to be creative with your left-overs:

  • Spread the dough with butter, sprinkle with some garlic and layer ham and cheese
  • Pizza – pizza sauce, pepperoni, sausage, ham, green peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, etc..
  • Alfredo sauce with cooked chicken, ham, and swiss cheese
  • Left-over barbecued pork or sloppy joe’s with some cheddar cheese
  • Sliced steak with onions, peppers, and provolone cheese
  • Go Mexican with seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, refried beans, and sour cream

When you have the filling all laid out – start closing in the loaf by pulling the bottom inch of bare dough up to cover the filling. Repeat with the top inch of bare dough.

Starting at the bottom, take one horizontal dough fringe from each side over the filling and cross them. Repeat until the entire loaf is “tied up”.

Cover with a clean cloth and let the loaf rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 40 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom is firm.

You should let it cool slightly (about 15 – 20 minutes) before cutting – if you can wait that long!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post at Mouth Watering Monday over at A Southern Fairy Tale, Tasty Tuesday over at Beauty and Bedlam, and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Baguettes

Baguettes I adore bread – especially fresh bread right from oven.

I’m so thankful that God blessed me with a daughter who’s goal for the year is to learn to bake beautiful hard crusted artisan breads. (Are you jealous yet? You should be you know!)

For our Valentine’s party – she worked all afternoon to make these out-of-this-world French Baguettes.

She was so thrilled to pull them out of the oven and thump that hard crust and hear the crunch when she cut into it.

We were thrilled with the soft pillow-like inside and the wonderful yeasty flavor!

They did take some time to make – but weren’t difficult. We just had to do a little planning ahead to get them done in time.

Trust me – they were worth the effort!

French Baguettes

5  cups white bread flour (we used only all-purpose flour and it was fine)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 ounce fresh yeast
2-1/4 cups lukewarm water

Sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Add the yeast to the water in another bowl and stir to dissolve. Gradually beat in half the flour mixture to form a batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 3 hours or until nearly tripled in size and starting to collapse.

Add the remaining flour a little at a time, beating with your hand. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes to form a moist dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for 1 hour.

When the dough has almost doubled in bulk, punch it down, turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 3. Shape each into a rectangle measuring about 6 X 3 inches.

Fold the bottom third up lengthwise and the top third down, and press down to make sure the pieces of dough are in contact. Seal the edges. Repeat two or three more times until each loaf in an oblong. Let rest in between folding for a few minutes, if necessary, to avoid tearing the dough.

Gently stretch each piece of dough lengthwise into a 13-14 inch long loaf. Pleat a floured dish towel on a baking sheet to make 3 molds for the loaves. Place the breads between the pleats of the towel to help hold their shape while they are rising. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to the maximum, at least 450 degrees. Roll the loaves onto a baking sheet, spaced well apart. Using a sharp knife slash the top of each loaf several times with long diagonal slits. Bake at the top of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Spray inside the oven with water 2-3 times during the first 5 minutes of baking, or place a pan with water on the bottom rack of the oven beneath the bread. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 3 wonderfully crusty loaves.

I’ve linked this post up over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday.