- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pound bulk spicy pork sausage
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, 1 egg, butter and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink; drain and set aside to cool.
- Punch the dough down; divide in half. On a floured surface, roll each half into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Cut each one into three 14-in. x 4-in. strips. Combine cheese and sausage; spoon 1/2 cup down the center of each strip. Bring long edges together over filling; pinch to seal.
- Place three strips with seam side down on greased baking sheets. Braid strips together; secure ends. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Beat remaining egg and brush over loaves. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Sausage Cheese Braid in Country Woman March/April 1997, p31
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