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The loaf is a bread basket filled with thin sandwiches.

Filled with dozens of finger sandwiches, this big, round loaf contains enough appetizers for a crowd. It's easy to make, and ideal for a reception or summer party.

First, bake the whole-wheat loaf. Then, using tricks we learned from professional bakers, you slice off the top of the loaf and neatly cut out the insides to make a hollow basket. You slice the inside of the loaf into thin triangles, spreading them with four interesting fillings.

All the work can be done ahead--in fact, the bread slices better if baked the day before. We also found that if you freeze the inside portions of the loaf, you can slice the bread thinly; frozen slices are easier to spread with fillings. Make the sandwiches and reassemble the loaf up to 1 day ahead, or freeze up to 2 weeks. Sandwich Loaf Basket

About 8 to 9 cups whole-wheat flour 3 packages active dry yeast 2/3 cup untoasted wheat germ 3-1/2 cups water 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) salted butter or margarine 1 tablespoon salt

About 10 ounces (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Smoked salmon filling (recipe follows)

Minced ham filling (recipe follows)

Italian mushroom butter (recipe follows)

Blue cheese and walnut filling (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and wheat germ. In a 1-1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine water, sugar, the salted butter, and salt. Heat to 120 [deg.]. Add to flour mixture.

To mix with a dough hook, beat on low speed to moisten ingredients, then beat on high speed for 5 minutes; scrape bowl often. Mix in 2 cups of the remaining flour; beat on high speed 5 minutes. Cover, then let dough rest 10 minutes. gradually beat in enough of remaining flour (about 2 cups) to form a stiff dough that's not very sticky when lightly touched. Scrape dough into bottom of bowl.

To mix by hand, stir yeast mixture with a heavy spoon to moisten incredients, then beat vigorously for 10 minutes. Gradually beat in 2 cups of the remaining flour; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Mix in enough of remaining flour (about 2 cups) to form a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto board coated with some of the remaining flour and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Turn dough over in a greased bowl to grease top.

Cover dough (mixed by either method) and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and knead on a floured board to expel air. Shape into a smooth ball and place in a greased 10-inch cheesecake pan with removable bottom. Flatten ball slightly, then sprinkle lightly with a whole-wheat flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has risen 3 inches above pan rim (step 1), about 45 minutes.

Bake in a 350 [deg.] oven until bread is richly browned and has pulled from pan sides, about 45 minutes (if top gets too brown, cover with foil). Remove pan sides, then use a wide spatula to slide loaf off pan bottom onto a rack to cool completely. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature at least 1 day or up to 3 days (or freeze) before cutting.

To cut loaf, place on a flat surface (if frozen, thaw unwrapped). Measure 4 to 5 inches from base (or where top begins to curve). Mark with toothpicks. Using a long, serrate knife, slice off top of loaf at toothpicks (step 2). Set top aside.

Leaving a 1/2- to 3/4-inch wall around inside of loaf, cut down vertically around its perimeter (step 3) to within about 1/2 inch of bottom (do not cut through bottom of loaf). Still cutting down vertically, slice across center of loaf twice to create 4 sections (make an X cut).

On the work surface, place a cook book or magazine so that, when the knife handle lies flat on it, the knife blade will be at a level height of about 1/2 inch. Keeping knife handle flat on the book, push blade straight into loaf almost through to opposite side (step 4). Without enlarging original incision, slowly draw knife in and out in a sawing motion, swiveling the blade from the center to one side. Do not cut through wall of loaf.

Pull out the knife, turn it over so blade faces opposite direction, and reinsert through original incision. Repeat the sawing ans swiveling motion from center to opposite side.

Invert loaf to free wedges; if necessary, repeat the cutting as directed above. Cover loaf and set aside.

Turn wedges right side up in their original position and mark with toothpicks so you can fit them back into the loaf the way they were.

Place wedges slightly apart on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 4 hours.

Remove wedges from freezer and turn them on their sides. Cut each into 8 thin slices (step 5) and stack back into original position. Return to freezer.

To assemble sandwiches, remove a pair of bread slice and spread one side of each with about 2 teaspoons soft unsalted butter (do not butter bread when using mushroom filling). Spread one of the buttered slices with about 1/4 cup of filling (recipes below). Put the two slices together, then cut into 4 triangles. Arrange triangles (in their original position) back in loaf. Repeat to make remaining sandwiches; keep loaf covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap to avoid drying out.

Put out interior bread portion of loaf top (save bread for crumbs, if desired). Set lid on filled sandwich basket. Serve, or wrap airtight and let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours. You can also refrigerate the filled loaf up to 1 day, or freeze up to 2 weeks.

If frozen, let filled loaf thaw, loosely wrapped, at room temperature about 10 hours. Unwrap to serve. Makes 1 loaf (4-3/4 lbs., unfilled), 64 sandwiches, or enough to serve to 16 to 20.

Smoke samon filling. In a food processor or blender, whirl together 2 packages (3 oz. each) smoked salmon, 1 small package (3 oz.) cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Mix in 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dill weed), and liquid hot pepper seasoning to taste. Makes about 1 cup.

Minced ham filling. In a food processor or blender, whirl 6 ounces cooked ham, 2 green onions including tops, and 4 sprigs parsley. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard; whirl until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.

Italian mushroom butter. Cover 1-1/2 ounces (1 cup) dried porcini mushrooms with 1 cup warm water. Let stand 30 minutes to soften. Drain mushrooms and chop. In an 8-inch or smaller frying pan, cook mushrooms over medium heat in 1 tablespoon salad oil, stirring, until mushroom liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor or blender, whirl the mushrooms with 6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter until smooth. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Blue cheese and walnut filling. Mix together 1 small package (3 oz.) cream cheese and 1/3 cup (3-oz. packagee blue-veined or Roquefort cheese. Blend in 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. Makes about 3/4 cup.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jul 1, 1984
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