Cheese and Giardiniera Stuffed Muffuletta Bread

I’m fresh off of almost 5 consecutive weeks of being on and off the road for state music shows and haven’t had time to cook or bake anything lately.  I got the itch this week and was inspired by a jar of homemade giardiniera we had sitting around.  It being Mardi Gras week, I figured I’d make a loaf of homemade bread and top it with the giardiniera… but then I saw cheese in the fridge and the rest is history.  Found a recipe online for an authentic muffuletta dough and we went from there.

CHEESE AND GIARDINIERA STUFFED MUFFULETTA BREAD

Dough:

  • 1 c. warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. shortening

Stuffing:

  • 3/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 c. giardiniera, roughly chopped
  • pepper flakes

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg whisked with splash of warm water

Combine water, yeast and sugar in mixing bowl and set aside to proof.  Meanwhile, combine flours, salt and shortening and work shortening through the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands.  Once yeast is foamy use a dough hook attachment and work flour into the yeast.  After dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl and springs back when poked with your finger it’s ready for rise #1.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Roll out onto floured surface to about a 12×8 in. rectangle.  Spread giardiniera over dough, then cheese and pepper flakes to your desired level of spiciness (think I used at least a tablespoon… some like it hot 😉 ).  Roll it up and place it seam-side down on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle and press more pepper-flakes onto the top and then loosely cover with plastic wrap to rise for about another hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush risen loaf with egg wash and bake for 35-45 minutes.  (Admittedly, I did slice it down the middle and give it 5 more minutes.  The typical “it’s done if it sounds hollow” doesn’t really work on this one because it’s stuffed.)

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