Sunday, December 30

BAKE IT: Broccoli Cheese Bread

Stuffed breads are widely enjoyed by almost everybody. Usually around the holidays we go somewhere serving them. Sometimes we find they are homemade, but most are either bakery or store bought. Stuffed breads are easy to make, bake up nicely, can be stuffed according to your families tastes, and also make a great brunch or "need to bring something" item. Try this quick and easy recipe and you'll be the stuffed bread maker of everyone's choice!

I use bread dough to make these but, pizza dough can also be used

Full time: 45-60 minutes
Makes 1 loaf

You will need:

1 can French bread dough or 1 load frozen dough thawed or homemade bread dough for 1 loaf
1 head broccoli
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp butter, melted
*1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground garlic

Let us begin:

Start by cutting broccoli head into nice bite size or slightly larger than bite size pieces.

In a pot of boiling water, blanch broccoli by cooking it for 3-4 minutes.

Drain broccoli and shock by running cold water over it.

Allow broccoli to sit in colander and drain completely.

Preheat oven to 350, line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside for a moment.

Place your dough on a lightly floured surface.

With a sharp knife, slice down the middle of the dough, do not cut straight through, cut only 3/4 of the way down.

Gently fold dough open.

Carefully pat dough into a 1/2" thick rectangle, use rolling pin if desired but hands work fine.

Transfer dough to baking sheet.

Making sure there is no excess water in broccoli, place broccoli down the middle of the dough.

Season broccoli with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Spread shredded mozzarella across top of broccoli.

Season mozzarella with basil and oregano.

Working along one side of dough at a time, cut 1 1/2" wide stripes starting from 1/2" from edge of broccoli out.

Repeat on other side of dough.

Wrap dough slices up and over filling, making sure to layer every other one...see below photos for technique.

Once wrapped, brush top of dough with butter, lightly.

Sprinkle across red pepper flakes if using.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until the crust has a nice golden color to it.

Remove and allow to stand 15 minutes before moving or serving to allow it to firm up.

Move to serving platter and slice up, exposing all the fun inside. For extra fun, place a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

If not serving immediately, allow to completely cool before wrapping tightly in plastic cling wrap. Store for up to 2 days, to serve reheat in oven for 8-10 minutes until warmed thru.