Stuffed Breads

Stuffed breads - a bread and a sandwich all in one - are great to serve for lunch, brunch or cut-up as finger foods for any party or gathering you are having. A good stuffed bread can be a complete meal! These can always be re-warmed the next day - leftovers are great. Depending on what you are stuffing your bread with - you can also use a dipping sauce for serving. And the breads can be stuffed with ANYTHING! Don?t be afraid to experiment.

Mediterranean Stuffed Bread
One recipe for 2 loaves of homemade bread or one 2-pound loaf frozen white bread dough, defrosted

Filling:
1/4 cup flat-leafed Italian parsley, finely minced
1/4 cup minced onions and/or scallions
3/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 plumped halves)
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup chopped black olives (a combination of oil-cured, kalamata or pitted black)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled into small chunks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon basil

In a medium-sized bowl, toss together the parsley, onions/scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olives, feta cheese chunks, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.

Flatten or gently deflate the bread dough into an oval shape, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Press half of the topping mixture onto the bread. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges together to cover the filling. Let it rest for a few minutes.

Flatten the dough again, using a rolling pin, trying not to force any of the filling out. Press the remaining filling onto the dough. Fold the dough in half again, pinching the edges together to cover any exposed filling (sometimes this doesn’t look perfect, but it works out in the end). The bread should look like a plumpish, slightly flattened oval. Smear a little olive oil on the bread.

Line a doubled-up cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with semolina, and place the bread on top. Cover with a tea towel, and let rise about 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until puffy and lighter than when it started.

Preheat your grill to Hot. Place the bread on the grill, put on the cover, reduce the heat to Medium, and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the bread is well-browned. (Some of the filling may leak out; that’s OK). Remove the bread from the grill and serve warm, in wedges, or cold, in thin slices.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Pepperoni and Cheese Bread

1 1/4 cups warm (105-115° F.) water
2 packets or teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter or margarine - softened
3 1/4 cups bread flour
27 thin slices provolone
10 ounces pepperoni - chopped
1 egg - beaten

Measure the warm water into a warm bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on the water and stir until dissolved. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and three cups of flour and beat until smooth (with the flat beater, if you have a KitchenAid or equivalent). Then add the remaining flour a cup at a time (with the dough hook if you have it) to make a soft dough. Knead it until it’s smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, with the hook or on a lightly floured surface. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to butter the top. Cover it and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and divide it into three pieces. Roll each out to a 12 in. x 8 in. rectangle. Place 6 pieces (12 if you want) slices of provolone on each rectangle and then scatter 1/3 of the pepperoni on the cheese on it. Roll the rectangle up from the long side (jelly roll-like) and seal the seam. Repeat for each rectangle.
Place the rolls on greased baking sheets (you can fit 2 on one sheet). Cover and let rise until doubled, about another hour. Slash the tops in three or four places and brush the loaves with the beaten eggs.
Bake at 400ºF for 25-30 minutes or until done. Cool slightly and serve warm. Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat (around 20 minutes at 300ºF works well) to serve.

Beef Stuffed Bread
“Cabbage Bread”
This is an irresistible stuffed bread recipe with a peppery beef and cabbage center. Cabbage Bread is equally good warm or room temperature, making it an excellent picnic food idea, travel food or snack food as well as side dish recipe.

Use your own homemade bread dough recipe, store-bought bread dough, or puff pastry.

Cabbage Bread
1 small green cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons black pepper
Yeast bread dough

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the shredded cabbage. Stir to coat well. Cover and steam over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet. Add the salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
Add the ground beef mixture to the cabbage pot. Mix. Transfer the mixture to a colander and let it drain and cool completely, 1-2 hours.
Roll out your bread dough very thin. Cut in rectangles about 5" X 8". Place a large spoonful of the cabbage mixture in the center of each rectangle. Draw up the edges and seal.
Place the sealed side down on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise 10-15 minutes (if you’re using a yeast dough.) Bake at 425° until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold, plain or with deli mustard, if desired.

Variation:
Substitute puff pastry sheets for the bread dough. Bake just until golden brown.

Cheese And Ham Stuffed Bread
Great for a party appetizer or serve this special bread with a soup supper.

1/2 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten, divided
1 teaspoon oregano or dill weed
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3 ounces lean ham, thin deli sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 7x11 inch baking pan. Divide a loaf of thawed bread dough in half. Place the dough on the baking pan and roll or pat to almost fit the pan, leaving on inch on all sides. In a small bowl, beat egg and oregano together. Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of egg on the dough. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Arrange ham on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Carefully fold over 1/3 of the long side of the dough towards the middle. Take the other side of the dough and fold it over the top. Turn the loaf seam side down in the baking pan. Brush lightly with egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through in the middles.
Note: Change the amounts of ham and cheese to suit your individual tastes. Choose the cheese of your choice.

Stuffed Bread
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (1 loaf)

3-1/4 cups all-purpose white flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon margarine, melted
1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing (or dressing of your choice)
8 ounces sliced ham, turkey, roast beef, or salami
4 ounces sliced cheese
1 egg white
Caraway or sesame seeds (optional)

In a large bowl, mix 2-1/4 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in the warm water and margarine. Mix in only enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 4 minutes.
On a greased baking sheet, roll the dough to a rectangle of 10 inches by 14 inches. Spread dressing down the center third of the dough. Top with a layer of sliced meat and cheese. Make cuts in the dough from the filling to the dough edges at 1-inch intervals. Alternating sides, fold the dough strips at an angle over the filling. Brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with the caraway or sesame seeds, if desired. Cover the loaf with a clean towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large shallow pan on a counter. Half fill it with boiling water. Place the baking sheet over the pan. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes or until done. Cool slightly before serving.