Broccoli Bread

So, really, Shakespeare, what IS in a name? When it comes to the baby you’re carrying in your belly, lots. Lots of pressure to make your child’s name unique but not too unique. Pressure to come up with a name with longevity – one that is suitable for an infant as well as an elderly adult.

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Then there’s the issue of coming to an agreement with your spouse as neither mom nor dad has exclusive naming rights. Having been a teacher before becoming a mom, certain names were not up for discussion. And certain favorites of mine (ahem, Scout as in To Kill a Mockingbird), Tim vetoed, as well as the Southern tradition of a double first name. Once you’ve both settled on a first name, it’s time to consider middle names and apply the initial test to make sure your unborn child’s initials don’t spell anything unfortunate.

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Yet another crucial test is to think of all the possible nicknames and rhyming names of the moniker you’ve so carefully chosen. Imagine your child coming home from school one day saying he was taunted with “Fartin’ Martin” on the playground. (Not that this ever actually happened to Tim or anything.)

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And, if you’re naming your 2nd (or 3rd…) born, you’ve got to consider how your children’s names sound together. Do you want 18 kids with names all starting with the letter J like the Duggars? Or do you want your kids to be named after trees like, um, us? Consider this true story – My cousin had a boy named Sam and was pregnant with a girl she wanted to name Ella. “Sam and Ella” – say that ten times fast and you’ve got yourself some nice chicken bacteria. Luckily, she realized this before she was born and instead named her Emma.

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So, all that to say, if ever there was a recipe in need of a new name, this is it. Broccoli Bread. Um, yeah, not one you read and think “gotta get me some”. But, trust me on this one, it tastes much better than it sounds. Make it and, while it’s in the oven, make up a new name for it. It deserves one.

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Broccoli Bread

adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible

Note: Beranbaum calls her version “Sicilian Vegetable Pizza Roll” which only makes me think of The Princess Bride and how the word “inconcievable” doesn’t mean what the Sicilian thinks it means. But that’s another post.

Filling

  • 1 pound sausage, crumbled
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Pecorino Romano

Dough

  • 3¼cups (16.5 ounces or 468 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (6.4 grams) instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (8.3 grams) sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons (10 grams) salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (11 ounces or 312 grams) water, at room-temperature
  • whole-wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour for rolling the dough
  • olive oil
  • fleur de sel or flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1. Make the filling. Cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain off any fat. Add broccoli, onion, and roasted red pepper and saute, stirring constantly, just until broccoli changes color, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until broccoli is tender-crisp. (The broccoli will continue cooking slightly in the oven.) Let cool and then combine with cheeses. Set filling aside while you make the dough.

2. Mix the dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and sugar. Then whisk in the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, add the water, and stir until blended.
Sprinkle the counter with some of the whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour. Scrape the dough out onto the counter and knead it for 10 minutes until it is smooth and resilient. It will be very sticky during the first 5 minutes of kneading. (If it is still sticky after 5 minutes, cover it with the inverted bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes.) Add more flour if necessary only after the first 5 minutes. (The dough can also be made in a stand mixer with a dough hook; mix on medium speed, #4 if using a Kitchen-Aid, for 7 minutes. I prefer this method because I’m lazy and love my stand mixer.)

3. Let the dough rest. Sprinkle the counter with more whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour. Set the dough on top and allow it to sit, covered with plastic wrap, for 20-30 minutes to relax before rolling.

4. Preheat to oven to 475°F 1 hour before baking. Place a baking stone or baking sheet on the lowest shelf before preheating.

5. Shape the dough. Brush about a 4-inch band of olive oil down the center of a 20-inch-long piece of heavy duty foil so that your bread won’t stick. Or just use a Silpat like me or parchment paper and then there’s no need to oil.
Roll the dough into an 18×16 inch rectangle or thereabouts. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough. Roll up from the longer side jelly-roll style, using a bench scraper to help support the dough as you roll it. Pinch the edge of the dough firmly to make a tight seam. Turn the dough so that the seam is underneath. Pinch the ends of the dough firmly together and tuck them under.
Roll or lift the loaf onto the foil so that the seam stays underneath, and lift the loaf and foil into the pan. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and make 3 slashes in the top of the dough.

6. Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 400°F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking for 7-10 minutes or until the loaf is golden all over. It bakes for about 27 minutes total in my oven.

7. Brush the loaf with oil, sprinkle with flaky salt, and cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.

8. Serve with marinara sauce or olive oil for dipping.

Beranbaum says this freezes well. Reheat slices for 10 minutes in 350°F oven. Can top with sauteed mushrooms and play around with the filling.

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