One of my friend Lynn’s favorite foods to make is stuffed bread and since I’d never made it before, she invited me to make it with her for her son’s birthday party. It’s an easy, impressive and filling snack that can be frozen ahead of time and simply re-heated the day-of. Plus, it’s a “make-it-your-own way” kind of meal which spells out VERSATILITY, my favorite word. So, of course I was on board for a stuffed bread making demonstration.
We arranged a cooking date during an afternoon when our 4-year old sons could play while we baked.
To save time, we decided not to make the dough from scratch and instead, Lynn picked up eight batches of pizza dough from her favorite Italian market, let it rise ahead of time (a time saving must) and then we each provided our own fillings. She was making pepperoni and mozzarella (a sure favorite among the birthday party guests) while I played around with various veggies that I had on hand, slow roasted tomatoes and turkey sausage.
Since I had never made the bread before, I wanted her to make one first and show me the steps involved. As she began her demonstration, I was amazed at the simplicity of this dish. She stretched the dough and rolled it effortlessly into an uneven rectangle, sprinkled a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and layered pepperoni. As she rolled the cheese and pepperoni covered dough into a long log, she explained her mother’s little trick of pulling it tight as you roll it over. It took less than five minutes to assemble the bread from start to finish. When it was my turn, I layered mandolin-thin slices of zucchini on top of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, rolled away and ended up with a pretty nice looking roll (not quite as tight as hers from so much experience though!)
She brushed hers with a bit of egg wash and I basted mine with butter — a test to see which would make a more golden delicious finish. We popped them into the oven and while they baked, we rolled more together, taking turns on my small kitchen table. When the first batch was finished, we sliced one to taste (and taste and taste.) It was an impressive looking snack, with the layers colorfully swirled together. Before long, Lynn and I we were stuffed (like our bread). And as it turned out, they were all pretty golden and very delicious.
When my daughter came home from school, I served her some as a snack and she was quite impressed with the presentation, asking how I got the fillings to be so beautifully twirled together.
I’m excited to have three stuffed breads wrapped and waiting in my freezer. I may pull them out to reheat for a summer picnic lunch with a salad, or maybe I’ll slice one up for friends one day for lunch. All I know is that they’ll come in handy one day soon and I’ll appreciate the time spent with Lynn all over again!
Simple Stuffed Bread
What I like most about this recipe is that you can stuff the bread with whatever you like, making it as healthy as you wish. The only thing you need to be careful of is not to over or under stuff. It’s a fun food to play with — shrimp scampi, garlic and basil, onions and mushrooms — you name it!
Thinly Sliced Pepperoni
Thinly Sliced Zucchini
-Let pizza dough rise.
-Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Roll the dough out on a floured surface approximately 8 x 11.
-Sprinkle desired amount of cheese onto the dough.
-Lay fillings (pepperoni, sausage or veggies) on top of the cheese.
-Roll the dough tightly from the 8 inch side upward until you have a plump log.
-Brush the top with melted butter or egg wash.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
To freeze, place uncovered on a baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until hardened (a few hours). Wrap well in aluminum foil and keep in the freezer. To re-heat, place straight from the freezer into the oven and bake on 375 degrees until heated — 45 minutes to an hour.