Friday, October 22, 2010

Sausage and Cheese Bread

Thawed frozen bread dough or or refrigerated pizza dough, makes this appetizer bread stuffed with seasoned hot sausage and cheese super easy.

Sausage and Cheese Bread

A perfect appetizer for any party, this Sausage and Cheese Bread made from homemade or refrigerated pizza dough or thawed frozen bread dough is a definite crowd favorite. Regular Italian sausage works great for this, but I prefer to use the hot version of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, and add shredded pepper jack cheese for the extra kick they both give. Together with the onion and bell pepper, that is really all the seasoning you need. If you're making it for tailgating, bake it, let it cool, wrap it in foil and warm it up on the grill before slicing.

Some folks call this a Stromboli, and while I do think that they are similar in theory, if I'm correct, I believe the Stromboli uses sliced deli meats such salami, capicola and sometimes pepperoni, rather than a loose meat concoction like this, along with sliced cheeses, all stuffed in an Italian bread dough - kind of like a folded meat turnover. This recipe was actually inspired by a similar sausage cheese bread sold at a Mississippi bakery, and we call it bread down here, so I'm calling mine the same.

If you're using a frozen dough as opposed to refrigerated pizza dough, the first thing you'll need to do is thaw the frozen dough and let it rise. I do that in about 1-1/2 hours using the speed method on the package. While the bread is thawing, brown the sausage and saute the veggies, so that they'll have some time to cool. You can also make your own bread or pizza dough from scratch if you prefer.

Here's how to make my sausage and cheese bread.

Make one loaf of bread at a time. Spread or roll the dough into a rectangle onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. This is simply for the purpose of transferring it to the baking pan more easily. Add half of the sausage filling along the middle of the dough. Brush all of the edges of the dough with water or the egg wash.

Fold the bottom half of the dough up, fold the sides in, brushing with more water or egg wash as needed.

Fold the top over and pinch together to seal. Transfer to a well greased baking sheet, and repeat with the other loaf. Brush both loaves all over with the egg wash if you like, and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and let it settle and cool down just a bit before cutting into slices about 1-1/2 inches thick. Try not to eat the whole dang loaf yourself while you arrange slices on a platter. (Good luck with that!)

Yum, just so good y'all! Hope you like it.

Recipe: Sausage and Cheese Bread

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish©
Prep time: 2 hours incl thaw time |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: 2 loaves

  • 2 loaves of frozen bread dough (like Rhodes), thawed, or two refrigerated pizza dough canisters (like Pillsbury classic)
  • 1 pound of hot breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup of shredded pepper jack, cheddar or your favorite cheese
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, optional

If using frozen bread dough place on a greased baking sheet and allow it to thaw and rise. I use the quick rise method on the package. Meanwhile brown the sausage in a skillet, remove to a paper towel to drain, transfer to a plate and set aside. To the pan drippings, add the onion and bell pepper and saute until tender. Remove and add to the sausage. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a large baking sheet generously with non-stick spray; set aside. Place one of the bread dough rolls on a sheet of lightly floured, wax or parchment paper, rolling or pressing into a long rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Add half of the meat and veggie mixture along the length of the bread directly in the center, leaving a border all around.  Top the sausage with half of the shredded cheese. Brush the very edges of the bread dough with water or the egg wash, then fold the bottom part of the bread dough up over the filling, fold the sides in, applying more egg wash, and then fold the top half over, pressing seam gently together to seal. Transfer the bread to the prepared baking sheet by lifting the paper and rolling the dough off, so that it is seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second bread loaf.

Brush bread all over with the remaining egg wash if desired, and poke several vent holes into the top of the bread with a fork or the tip of a knife. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown all over. Transfer to a rack to let rest and cool for 5 to 10 minutes or until set, then using a serrated knife, slice into pieces about 1-1/2 inch wide. Arrange on platter and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Can substitute any other raw sausage such as chorizo, Bratwurst, or Italian sausage, or use plain ground beef. Add additional seasonings as needed for flavoring.

Breakfast Bread: For each loaf prepared, fry 1/4 pound of breakfast sausage or 4 slices of bacon to crisp; drain and set aside. Saute onion and bell pepper in pan drippings if desired. Beat 4 large eggs with a tablespoon of water and soft scramble without butter in a non-stick skillet. Arrange 3/4 cup of shredded cheese on the dough, top with scrambled eggs and veggies if using, scatter sausage, bacon or ham on top. Finish as above.

Muffuletta Bread: For each loaf, spread a light layer of olive salad across the center of the dough. Layer sliced deli meats and cheeses, beginning with Cappicola ham, Swiss cheese, Mortadella or bologna, Provolone and salami. Top with additional olive salad and finish bread as above.

Stuffed Pizza Bread Variation: Make this pizza bread by adding your favorite pizza toppings. Pre-cook pepperoni a few seconds to render fat, then dab with a paper towel to remove excess fat, and let cool. Use cooked, well drained and cooled ground beef, bacon, grilled chicken, ham, whatever you love. Add favorite veggies you like - onion, mushrooms, sweet peppers or jalapeno are all good, though I do suggest sauteing many of them first. Let all ingredients cool before adding to the bread dough. Sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes if you like a little kick. You can also spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the dough, though it isn't necessary. I prefer to save the sauce for dipping and make a nice marinara instead, which is delicious. Don't forget the cheese - mozzarella or provolone with a little Parmesan, Romano or Asiago are great choices!


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