Behold the Mighty Loaf

July 20, 2008

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I found the original recipe in Gourmet years ago. I don’t follow it exactly, rather it is the inspiring recipe for whatever meats/cheeses/herbs I either have in my fridge or think will compliment what I’m serving it with/serving it for. The one change I always make is using fresh herbs (about 1 Tbsp) instead of the dried herbs called for in the recipe. The loaf shown here was made with Sopressata, Rosemary and Gruyere (that I cut into small dice). And I would urge you to be generous (and not leave out!) the sprinkling of coarse salt on the outside of the loaf–it adds greatly to the finished bread. (And if it is a health concern for any one you may be serving it to, it flicks right off, so everyone can be happy! *smile*)

Here’s a look at it through the various stages:

This is an amazingly versatile bread. Make one large loaf, and you have a large, fluffy slice on which to build an amazing sandwich–think a slather of olive tapenade, a layer of moist chicken breast, slices of juicy tomato dusted with garlic salt and pepper, a layer of crisp greens…topped with another of these fluffy meat-and-cheese-studded slices, and my-oh-my, you have a sandwich that makes you want to be a bit better dressed when you go to take a bite. *smile* A sandwich worthy of a great, crisp glass of wine alongside for lunch. A sandwich that sets you up to demand a high brow dessert–such as a Tiramisu or fruit-topped Zabaglione–as the only fitting ending to such a lunch.

Split the dough and make two, still good-sized, loaves—and you have a bread that slips effortlessly into a bread-basket…npt overwhelming the other choices, but making a great compliment and addition….or a bread that can be sliced thinly and served unadorned as an appetizer…it is just-right along side a cocktail or a glass of wine. I have often had a slice or two with a glass of wine as mid-afternoon snack. (Um, me, having a snack? Who’d believe it? *smile*) It’s that perfect ‘weight’ as a snack or appetizer–not too ‘bready’, not greasy or heavy, as other snacks can be, so it doesn’t fill you up too much and take away from the dinner to follow, but it has that salty-smack from the meat and cheese so it hits all the notes needed to feel snacky. So, so good.
For those of you novice bread-bakers out there: this is a good loaf for you to try. The large amount of yeast, the white flour and the tasty additions to the dough make it sure to come out tasty no matter what. So take it from me, if you’re thinking you want to make your own bread but are nervous because you don’t have much experience, make this one–you’ll be glad you did!
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Filed Under: Bread/Pastry, Recipe, Savory

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