Bread & Breakfast

Ham and cheese bread

Among all the breads that I have baked (not that there have so many at this point), this is the ultimate favorite among Speedy and the girls. There have been requests that make another batch, and I intend to very soon. But not today because I have a bad cold and I don’t think I’ll be doing a lot of cooking at all. I actually baked this bread on November 14 (the last time I used Fleischmann’s rapid rise yeast before it disappeared from the supermarkets) but dilly-dallied with the posting because there are too many photos to crop and edit.

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This is a very easy bread recipe. So long as you kneaded your dough correctly and the dough had a chance to rise sufficiently, the bread will come out right. You just make your bread dough then, when risen, form into a log then roll into a rectangle. Spread with butter, top with ham and cheese. Let rise. Brush the top with butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake. Cut into slices. Aromatic, pretty, delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 c. of all-purpose flour
    1 packet of Fleischmann’s rapid rise yeast
    1 c. of lukewarm water
    1/2 c. of sugar
    1 tsp. of rock salt
    1/4 c. of vegetable oil
    additional flour for dusting
    five slices of ham
    five slices of cheese
    about 1/4 c. of softened butter plus more for brushing the top
    1 tbsp. of sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Pour the lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast. Leave until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

    Stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add half of the mixture to the yeast. Pour in the vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the texture appears even. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Add the rest of the flour. Stir until the dough just comes together then dump onto a lightly floured work surface.

    Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes or until elastic and no longer sticky.

    Gather the dough into a ball. Lightly brush a large bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it every which way so that every part of the surface is coated with oil. Cover the bowl (cling film or a damp towel will do) and leave to rise until double in bulk, about one to three hours depending on the humidity.

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    When the dough has risen sufficiently, punch down then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a couple of minutes then roll into a log about three inches in diameter.

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    Roll the dough flat to form a rectangle. Spread the entire surface with butter. Arrange the ham and cheese slices on top.

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    Start rolling the dough, as tightly as you can, to seal the ham and cheese inside.

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    Just keep going making sure that the ham and cheese don’t slide off the dough.

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    Pinch the edges so that the dough does not unroll.

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    Because the long dough could not fit into my oven, I cut it into three portions. It might have been a better idea to divide the dough into three portions before rolling and filling. That way, I would have had three individual rolls with ALL THE EDGES TUCKED IN.

    The way things happened, after the dough had risen for the second time, the filling got pushed out a little on the cut sides (see below). Not that it affected the taste or texture of the bread. Just the looks. It didn’t really matter to me but it might matter to you so I’m saying that if you like perfect looking rolls, I gave you the option above.

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    So, anyway, once the dough has been filled and rolled and cut, leave to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.

    About 15 minutes before the dough has risen a second time, preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the tops of the unbaked bread with butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    Bake for 30 minutes.

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    After baking, the bread would be golden brown and crusty outside.

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    Slice the bread and be amazed at how soft and white the inside is.

    Serve the bread warm (bread is always best right after baking). The girls bought some of the sliced ham and cheese bread to the condo and since I heard no complaints about ruined texture, I’m assuming that the bread reheated well.

Cooking time (duration): 4 to 5 hours, including rising time for the dough

Number of servings (yield): 12 to 15 slices

Meal type: snack

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