Served warm with soup or salad, this pretty bread is hearty enough to round out a quick meal during busy holidays.
- 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm mashed potatoes (prepared with added milk and butter)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add potatoes and butter. Beat in warm milk until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Beat for 2 minutes. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18-in. circle. Transfer to a lightly greased 14-in. pizza pan. Sprinkle cheese over center of dough to within 5-in. of edge. Sprinkle with thyme and rosemary. Bring edges of dough to center; twist to form a knot. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine egg and milk; brush over top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Yield: 1 loaf.
Originally published as Herbed Mozzarella Round in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2003, p19
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