Thursday, December 23, 2010

Party Loaves

I didn't know what else to call these since there are so many variations which one could make.

On Tuesday, my family had their annual Christmas party.  I made fudge to bring but changed my mind after I left it in the fridge too long and it got kind of dried out and a little too eaten (Mark and the kids were taking pieces which were 4-6 piece serving sizes since I hadn't cut it.  It was kind of hard to cut since it had marshmallows in it.  Yes, delicious Christmas junk!).

This left me at the last minute trying to decide what to make.  A woman at church often makes a ham and cheese loaf but I couldn't find anything online that resembled it.  So I made my own version!

I made a loaf sized batch of dough.  This would work well with sourdough and I plan to make it when I get my sourdough on the go.  A loaf sized batch of bread dough will make three.  Divide it into three equal parts.

Roll the dough into either an oval or a rectangle shape.  I did it on parchment paper to make it easy to transfer.  Then on either side, make about eight slits which are about a third of the width on each side leaving the middle third uncut, which is where you put your toppings of choice (I made a ham and cheese one with a base of mayo and I made a pizza one which had pepperoni, mozza and a base of tomato sauce.  Sorry they are sideways, I forgot to rotate them and I'm too lazy to redo it ;) ):

Rolled out dough.

Mayo, ham and cheese.
Pizza toppings, I kept it basic.

 After you have your toppings on the dough, start braiding the sides.  Kind of tuck in the tops and bottoms to seal them in.  Next time, I think I would coat with an egg wash before baking.  
Braided loaf.
 After you braid your loaf (loaves), bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Slice and serve!

Finishes loaves on plate, cut into pieces and my itty bitty netbook in the background ;)
This was a hit at the party!  Everyone loved them and they were soooo goood!  You could put any toppings you like, even making it a sweet loaf.  It would be good to assemble, wrap and freeze to have on hand as something to cook on short notice or for an easy lunch/supper.  It probably took an hour and a half from the time I started the dough until it was cut and we were out the door, but that was only because I left for an hour to shop while the dough was in the bread machine.  If you made a bunch, it wouldn't even take any extra time.  I am planning to make some and along with some other goodies, will be part of our Christmas Day brunch :)