I love bread. Sometimes, I really think that I could survive on wine, bread, and cheese alone. (But it would have to be really good bread). I am so grateful to Panera in helping bring real artisan bread back to mainstream America. Unfortunately, too much bread, too often is not good when one is trying to loose weight. Has anyone invented The Bread Diet yet? Anyway, when I have bread; it better be good! And, this Stromboli qualifies. I have made this bread several times - once I brought it with me when invited to a friend's home for dinner. It never ceases to be a crowd pleaser. I first made this recipe exactly as it is printed on page 106 of Ultimate Bread. I have tried several variations experimenting with different types of cheese and flour. However, my favorite combo is mozzarella and parmesan reggiano.
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) water
3 1/2 cups (500 g) unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
for the filling and topping
7 oz (200 g) shredded mozzarella
7 oz (200 g) shredded or sliced parmesan reggiano
1 garlic clove
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon course salt
3 sprigs of rosemary, stems removed
1 teaspoon pepper
1) Mix yeast with 1 1/4 cups of warm water (not above 110 degrees otherwise it will kill the yeast)
2) Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast-water and oil. Mix in the flour from the sides of the well until all the ingredients are combined into a soft sticky dough. (When ever I use my scale to measure the flour - the better my dough comes out)
3) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - about 10 minutes.
4) Place the dough into a clean oiled bowl, cover with a flour towel, and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down and chafe for 5 minutes. (Chaffing = Starting with a plump round shape apply a slight amount of pressure while simultaneously rotating the dough clockwise)
5) Roll out dough into a 14" x 8" rectangle, cover with a flour towel and let rest 10 minutes.
6) Put garlic clove through press and gently spread with spatula over the dough. There won't be enough to go over the entire dough - that's okay it is not meant to be garlic bread
7) Spread basil leaves evenly over dough and top evenly with all the cheese. Starting at one of the short sides roll the dough like a Swiss roll but not tightly. I try to roll mine a little more flat than round so it looks like more like the picture in the book.
8) Place on an oiled baking sheet. Using a skewer pierce several holes through the dough all the way to the baking sheet so that the cheese bubbles up through the holes. Lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and artfully arrange some of the rosemary sprigs sprout from the holes and sprinkle the rest.
9) Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes - until deep golden brown.
10) Cool slightly and drizzle with remaining olive oil. (drizzling with olive oil is a very important step - don't skip)
Note: I have also placed the dough ingredients in my bread maker (liquids first, then flour salt and yeast). After taking the dough out of the bread machine start with the chaffing step.