What do you call bread that’s packed with veggies, cheese and ham?
And no the answer I’m looking for isn’t… ‘A Sandwich’
It’s the ‘Ultimate Brunch Bread’
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but unless I’m at a meditation centre on one of those silent meditation courses where you get breakfast at 6, lunch at 11am and lemon water at 5 in the evening, I’m not too much of a breakfast person. For me, that distinction goes to brunch especially on days when I’m at home and can pace my mornings out the way I’d like them to be. Breakfast is then just a mugful of coffee or perhaps two, and on occasion a fruit or some muesli with yoghurt. Just a little… But come 11am and I’m seriously hungry. It’s become such a pattern now that even when I do eat a proper breakfast, I start craving brunch at 11 and end up overeating.
So I’ve been dreaming up this loaf, bread rolls really, that would give me that feeling of a complete meal in a couple of bites. The Ultimate Brunch Bread which is what I decided to name it, with everything in it. What’s amazing about this bread is that it doesn’t just taste delicious, it’s such a feast for the eyes and the aroma is so intoxicating while it bakes and especially once it’s out of the oven, that you really don’t need an alarm clock or a gong to announce that it’s brunch time. With all those assorted vegetables, the Gouda and the smoked ham doing its thing, I was dancing around my kitchen in such glee you’d think I won the grand lottery.
I went two ways with the ingredients, making two kinds of bread. A stuffed ‘Daisy Pull-apart Loaf‘ and ‘Mini Muffins Bread Rolls‘ with all those veggies and ham mixed in with the dough and baked in muffin trays.
It’s also a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. Do eliminate the lone chilli that I’ve used if you’re baking this for the kids, or simply remove the seeds and membranes so that the chilli loses its punch but retains all its flavour and goodness.
Here are the ingredients –
(This is for the dough)
3 cups A.P. flour
11gms fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 to a cup of warm water
1/3 cup grated Gouda
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup EVOO (extra to oil bowl etc)
(For the filling)
1/2 red onion (minced)
10 curry leaves (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 green chilli (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Large pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 cup carrots (blanched and diced)
3/4 cup corn niblets (canned)
1/2 cup red bell peppers (diced)
1/2 cup french beans (parboiled for 30 – 40 seconds and dice)
3/4 cup smoked ham (chopped – reserve the fat of the ham separately – you’ll need about 2 tablespoons)
I egg + 1 tablespoon milk for the eggwash
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds (for the pull-apart loaf)
1 tablespoon each of white and black sesame seeds for the mini muffins
And now we come to the two-pronged method for two deliciously similar and yet different shapes of bread –
Prepare the dough the usual way, activating the yeast, then adding the flour and salt, before sprinkling over the dried parsley and the cheese and kneading it well. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to prove for a minimum of 2 hours.
In the meantime prepare the filling, by melting the fat from the ham in a tablespoon of EVOO on medium heat till the fat rends and crisps up (but does not burn). Sauté the garlic, onions, chilli and curry leaves in the fat and EVOO, then add in the pepper and the salt and immediately add in the ham and the veggies, tossing them on high for 15 – 20 seconds. Keep the filling aside to cool (Do not cover the pan or the veggies will overcook and lose their crispness and colour).
For the mini muffin rolls –
Mix in about 1 1/4 cup of the filling to one half of the dough, adding it a little at a time until it’s evenly distributed throughout the dough.Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape them. Place them into the muffin trays, cover and leave the dough to prove.
Meanwhile divide the other half of the dough into 9 equal portions. Roll them into spheres before flattening them out with your fingertips. You can use a rolling pin if you like. Fill each disc with about 1 heaped tablespoon of the filling and pinch the dough shut. Shape it and place it into the round loaf pan so that it looks like a daisy. Leave the dough to prove once the entire pan is filled.
The ‘Daisy pull-apart bread’ looked so pretty I almost didn’t want to take it apart, but then the aroma of the bread was so intoxicating I just had to try it out. And it was delicious. Just that perfect amount of bread to encase the colourful and tasty filling inside. It needs nothing more than your appetite.
As for the Mini Muffin Rolls, all you need is to slice them down the middle and slather on some butter.
I think I should call them the Meal-in-a-bite Daisy and Mini Muffin Bread Rolls but it’s quite a mouthful, so I’ll stay with the Ultimate Brunch Bread and send it off to Susan at YeastSpotting.
I had the mini muffins with my coffee, and with some fried chicken at dinner. And I had some of the Pull apart stuffed bread at brunch this morning. And I’m Content