I have this friend who is the most wonderful cook. Everything she touches is magnificent and elegant. Her soups and breads are known throughout the land or at least Snohomish County. Paula is her name and she also is a master gardener, master quilter and a master of Italian cuisine. This is her recipe. It is a little more complicated that I am usually capable of, but I somehow can manage it because it is so beautiful.
Stuffed Italian Bread
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 package yeast
- 3 cups plus 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 t. salt
- 6 T., divided in half pesto
- 2/3 cup, divided in half olives, sliced
- 2 cup, divided in half mozzarella
- 2/3 cup, divided in half ricotta cheese
- 8 oz. each, divided in half ham, turkey from the deli
- 2 T. , divided in half minced sundried tomatoes
- egg & water to brush on
- Mix water and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Stir in 3 cups flour, olive oil and salt.
- Add up to 1 cup of flour while kneading until elastic.
- Raise for 1 hour.
- Divide in half and roll each dough to 8\"x18\".
- Place on greased baking sheet. Cut braid legs per thumbnail below.
- Layer down the middle of each half of the pesto, olives, mozzarella, ricotta, ham, turkey and sundried tomatoes.
- Fold legs over to braid the bread. Let raise another 20 minutes.
- Brush the top with the egg mixed with water.
- Bake 400 degrees for 29 minutes. Check on it at 20 minutes and five minutes later.
- Note: The last time I made this I had no ricotta or mozzarella, so I used 8 oz. of sliced fresh mozzarella for each braid and it turned out just fine.