I created this recipe years ago and was thrilled when it won first prize in a newspaper cooking contest. Stuffed with ham, cheese and olives, it's hearty enough to satisfy Santa himself.
- 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 envelope onion soup mix
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1-1/2 cups diced fully cooked ham
- 1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup diced green pepper
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 jar (2 ounces) chopped pimientos, drained
- 3 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
- Additional Romano cheese
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, cheeses, soup mix, sugar, yeast and salt; mix well.
- In a saucepan, heat milk, water and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat until moistened. Add eggs; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- For filling, in a bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, ham, mozzarella cheese, green pepper, onion, pimientos and olives; refrigerate until ready to use.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll out each portion into a 12-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets.
- Spread filling down the center of each rectangle. Drizzle each with 2 teaspoons butter. On each long side, cut 3/4-in.-wide strips on a diagonal, about 2-1/2 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cheese is melted. Remove from pans to wire racks. Brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with additional Romano cheese. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Breakfast Braid in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2004, p15
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