Easter Ham, Pepperoni and Cheese Bread


Easter Ham & Cheese Bread

My Mama always made this tasty bread for every religious holiday and if we begged, sometimes in between. Mom used to buy pounds of aged meats and cheeses, painstakingly cubing every bit. Then she would mix with beaten eggs, grated Parmesan and fill, what seemed like dozens, of loaves. I’ve converted her recipe into a “busy chef” version by using slices instead of cubes and adding Alfredo sauce as the first layer and also for dipping. Most pizzerias will sell pounds of their dough to the public. Find your favorite shop and ask for a couple of pounds. This luscious bread is best served warm or cold. It’s easy, delicious and quite fun to make. Great for picnics and parties too!

Ingredients

2 pounds of good quality pizzeria-style pizza, or bread dough (please email me for my made from scratch version)

½ pound each (all sliced); pepperoni, Swiss cheese, Virginia ham and sharp cheddar: Divide equally between the 2 loaves.

1 jar or container of good quality Alfredo Sauce; using about 1 1/2 cups for filling and the rest for dipping.

1 egg beaten for egg wash

¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

Remove dough from wrapping and follow manufacturer’s directions through the thawing and first rising process. If using dough from your local pizzeria start here:

Deflate dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a 10×14 inch rectangle. Make parallel cuts 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long on the two long edges of the rectangle.

Evenly spread Alfredo sauce into the center of the rectangle—leaving a 1” section all around. Lay as many slices of pepperoni as you can, repeat with Swiss, then ham and finish with cheddar. Fold the short ends of the rectangle over the filling. Starting from each end fold end sections over into filling. Alternately, stretch strips from the two sides across the filling so the strips overlap diagonally. Repeat all of the above for 2nd loaf.

**If the above it too intimidating you can use the jelly roll method instead of braiding.

Transfer the loaves to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets for 30 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool for another 30 minutes before slicing.

Makes 2 Hearty Loaves

NOTE: The add-ins are endless! Chopped olives, onions, peppers, spinach, various cheeses—mix and match just about any meat, cheese and veggie!

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