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Breakfast Braid

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.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 50 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 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 whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • FILLING:
  • 1-1/2 cups 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

Directions

  • 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 12x10-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.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 183 calories, 9g fat (5g saturated fat), 54mg cholesterol, 468mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.
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