Sometimes the most delicious dishes don’t have the most appetizing names, like brown butter for example. If you had never had brown butter but just knew about it from its deceptively “blah” name you would have no idea that brown butter is quite simply one of the most amazing smells/tastes known to man. Rather than being a rancid blob of butter that has transformed its shade due to age or intriguing forms of mold, brown butter has the aroma of toasted nuts and the ability to transform whatever it touches into a completely new taste. As soon as the milk solids are cooked and begin to caramelize you are nearly punched in the face with an aroma that is both comforting in its familiarity and exciting as it is unlike anything you’ve tasted.
I didn’t really mean to come here to talk about brown butter rather, Stuffed Bread. Now you may be intrigued but chances are you aren’t salivating yet. When I give you a few more details about the recipe you will learn an important lesson about judging a dish by it’s name. That, or you will email me with a much better way of describing what I am calling, “Stuffed Bread”.
What’s better than homemade bread? Not much right?! What happens if you take that bread and stuff it with ham, hard-boiled eggs, fresh basil, loads of cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes? I’ll tell you what happens you get an incredible dinner and a happy husband, who will – while in the midst of consuming several hefty slices – grab his iPhone and twitter about the vast amount of luck bestowed upon him for marrying such a fine woman. Maybe those weren’t his exact words but I’ve learned to read between the lines.
If you are a creative type then you will especially love this recipe because really what it is is an idea. A starting point. Just think about all the possibilities. Bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, cheddar – Breakfast Stuffed Bread. Roasted vegetables, thyme, Gruyere – Meat-less Stuffed Bread.
Let me know what you come up with!
adapted from JamieOliver.com
One recipe basic white bread. You can use Jamie Oliver’s recipe or you can use Ruhlman’s ratio for basic bread which is 5:3, five parts flour to 3 parts water. Add some yeast (I typically add 2-3 tsp.) and salt (maybe a touch of sugar too) and you have bread.
1/2 lb. sliced Ham
5 hard boiled eggs, (instructions on how to perfectly boil eggs)
1 1/2 cup cheese (I used Fontina and Parmesan, but you could use cheddar, Gruyere, mozzarella, etc.)
5-7 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
salt and pepper – Use it if you think it needs it but with the salty ham, Parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes – dare I say – I didn’t add additional salt. (I hope this doesn’t mean I have to change the name of my blog again).
Prepare your basic bread recipe as directed. After the dough had risen and doubled in size, punch down, then shape into a rough rectangle on a floured surface. On the dough place your ham, eggs, cheese, basil and tomatoes. Over the top drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil.
Pull the dough over the filling to connect the edges – think of it like you’re making a giant burrito. Pinch the edges to seal in all your incredible ingredients. Now your burrito is going to become a large donut as you carefully join the ends to meet. Pinch and seal the ends so that you now have an endless ring of stuffed-bread goodness.
Carefully place your ring of bread on a oil piece of parchment lining a baking sheet. Paint or drizzle the top of the dough with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter. Let the dough rest and rise while you are pre-heating the oven to 350* Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
Let cool, although I understand if you can’t wait that long. It really is best served while the contents of the bread are still warm.
Slice and devour.