Think pizza in a loaf.  You can stuff this attractive braided bread with almost anything that you would put on a pizza.  We’ll show you how to make one of our favorite stuffed Italian breads, but make whatever suits your fancy.

Stuffed Tuscany Tomato Basil Bread

The convenient way to make this bread is with our Tuscany Tomato Basil Bread Mix, but you can use your favorite plain white bread recipe. If you are making this bread from a recipe, use a two loaf recipe and mix according to directions.

Add two tablespoon dried crushed basil during the mixing. (If you are making this from our mix, follow the directions but set the dried tomatoes aside and use slightly less than the two cups of water called for. The dried tomatoes soak up some water so using less than the directions call for is appropriate.) Place the bread dough in an oiled bowl, turn once, and cover to let rise until doubled.

Use the following recipe for the filling. Stuffed bread recipes lend themselves to customization so add or substitute ingredients according to your taste.

Stuffed Tuscany Tomato Basil Bread Filling (for two loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes (one packet if you are using our mix)
  • 1 six ounce can of pitted black olives, drained and chopped or 1/2 pound Italian sausage, sautéed
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, diced or 1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed oregano, Italian seasonings, or other seasonings of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal or semolina flour.
  2. Place the dried tomatoes in a bowl with barely enough water to cover. Cover with plastic and microwave for one minute on high heat. Let the tomatoes steep in the hot water for several minutes. Drain the tomatoes and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Once the dough has risen, divide it into two equal parts for two loaves. Roll one part into a rectangle about 12 inches by 15 inches.
  5. Slice the dough into one inch wide fringed ribbons as shown in the picture leaving the center one-third unsliced. Make sure there is an equal number of slices on each side.
  6. Place half the filling on the dough center. Fold up the bottom edge one inch and then beginning folding the ribbons over the filling, lapping them alternately as shown.
  7. When you near the top, fold the top one inch down along with two of the ribbon pieces. Finish folding over the ribbon pieces.
  8. Cup the ends of the loaf in your palms and compress the loaf into an oblong, well-shaped loaf. Put the loaf on the prepared pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the other loaf. Let the loaves rise until doubled, about an hour in a warm kitchen.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Whisk one egg with one tablespoon water. Just before baking, brush the top of the loaves with the egg wash.
  11. Bake for thirty minutes or until done. As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated cheese so that it will partially melt on the loaves. If need be, return the loaves to the oven for a minute. Cool the bread on wire racks.

Serve hot. Refrigerate any leftovers. This bread can also be frozen.

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