I know, all you need is another bread recipe!
This is one of my favorites. So easy to bake then wrap up for a trip to the park or beach! The variations are endless, I'll list some of our faves at the end of the tutorial.
1 package OR 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (You can also use "instant" yeast so you don't have to wait for activation.)
1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. If you use instant yeast, omit this step!
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour, egg, butter, and salt; mix well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. (If you have an electric oven, place bowl in oven with the light on. It's the perfect warm environment!)
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (I use parchment paper because it makes transferring this thing to the baking sheet MUCH easier!) Roll or pat the dough into a 10x14 inch rectangle.
Make parallel cuts 1 inch wide and 2 inches long on the two long edges of the rectangle.
Evenly spread the filling mixture over the center of the rectangle.
Fold the end up over the filling and secure by cris-crossing the first two strips over the folded end.
Starting from one of these ends, alternately stretch strips from the two sides across the filling so that the strips overlap diagonally.
Place bread in a warm area of your kitchen and allow to rise about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
These loaves are wonderful to take for a lunch on the go. You simply slice off what you need and wrap up the rest! No need for packaging individual sandwiches.
You can add just about anything to your dough during the mixing stage. In my photos, one loaf is plain bread, while the other one has chopped jalapenos fresh from the garden.
Other good dough mix-ins are: chopped roasted garlic, sliced kalamata olives, carmelized onion, dried herbs (never had good luck with fresh except rosemary!), peppers of all kinds, LOTS of fresh ground black pepper.
Fillings are endless, too! We mainly use leftovers to fill our breads. The boys love pepperoni and provalone cheese. Doug loves artichoke tapanade with roasted chicken and mozzarella.
You can even make a sweet version for a desert! Just add a tablespoon more of sugar and a little cinnamon to the dough recipe then fill with your favorite pie filling. Dust with powdered sugar when cooled.