Sausage & Cheese Loaf (Yeast)

Submitted by: Suzanne Weaver
Sausage & Cheese loaf made with yeast bread dough.

Difficulty: Medium - some experience needed

Ingredients

DOUGH:
1 packet (2 1/4 tbs) dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm (NOT HOT) water
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour (bread flour recommended, all-purpose works, too)
1/2 tsp vegetable oil

FILLING:
1 1/4 cups bulk pork sausage (preferably "country-style," which is highly seasoned)
2 tsp ground thyme
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

TOPPING:
1 large beaten egg
1 tbsp onion flakes

Method

1. Empty packet of yeast into large mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup warm (NOT HOT, or you will kill the yeast) water and dissolve yeast with spatula. Set aside.

2. Add milk and butter to a bowl and microwave for about 1 minute - just until the butter is barely melting. Let it cool to warm before moving on to step

3. Add milk and butter mixture to the yeast mixture and stir. Add egg, sugar, and salt and blend thoroughly.

4. Add 1 cup of flour and mix well. Add another cup of flour and mix well. Add one last cup of flour and mix well until a soft sticky dough is formed. It should be dry enough to scrape away from the sides of the bowl fairly cleanly.

5. Turn dough out onto a floured cutting board, or floured wax paper. Knead it for about 6-7 minutes using the half-turn method. (Fold it over itself half way, push it down with your palm and repeat.) Make sure your hands are floured. Only add flour to the dough if it becomes too sticky to knead.

6. Knead until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Test it by pushing down on it with your index finger. If it springs back, its ready to rise. Form it into a nice smooth ball of dough, tucking the seams underneath.

7. In a large glass bowl, add the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat evenly. Cover with a dish towel and let it rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size. It usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half. The longer the rising time the fluffier bread. :)

8. Meanwhile, while the dough is rising, cook the sausage in a skillet with the ground thyme. You want it done but not "browned." Make sure its crumbled.

9. When finished rising, turn dough out onto a lightly flowered cutting board, or floured wax paper. Sprinkle with flour and pat down. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch thick.

10. Spread a layer of sausage over the top, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge. Add a layer of cheese over the sausage.

11. Take one side of the dough and fold it two thirds of the way over the filling. Take the other side and fold it over to cover the remainder of the filling. (The entire process is rather like folding a burrito.)

12. Carefully pick up loaf and transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet, placing it seam side down.

13. Tuck the ends under forming a pretty loaf.

14. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

16. Lightly brush top layer of loaf with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with onion flakes.

17. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is a nice golden brown and a tester inserted in side comes out clean. Serve hot.

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