The first time I tasted sausage bread I knew it was not like anything I had ever tasted before. A friend and co-worker brought it to one of our faculty potluck dinners. I don't remember what I brought, but that bread was so good that it remains etched in my memory.
Eventually, with a lot of begging and pleading, I managed to get a copy of the recipe. I have made sausage bread many times since then. How the bread is made as important as is the quality of the Italian sausage.
Fresh Italian sausage is temperamental...if it is frozen for very long, the flavor changes to something almost inedible. I wish I had figured this out before I had wasted so many pounds of sausage. Now, if I buy sausage, it is used within a day or two of purchase.
Since the sausage bread recipe makes two loaves, one of them may be frozen before the raising process and then vacuum sealed if desired. Thaw and raise as indicated prior to baking.
*Cooked Italian sausage does not take on that off-flavor as quickly as fresh sausage does. This bread is also great the next day served cold and is wonderful with dipping sauces or a great Italian salad dressing on the side.
Use Italian bread recipe post # 166 (calzone); you will need bread flour.
(Optional - Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix; the loaves won't be as crisp and wonderful, but it does save some time and work).
When dough has been mixed and kneaded per directions, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place while making the filling.
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1/2-3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
5 T Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs beaten
Remove skin from the sausage. In a large pan, heat 1-2 T olive oil on medium-high heat. Add sausage and break into small pieces while browning. Stir to brown all sides of the pieces. Drain off fat and stir the meat as it cooks. Do not undercook…the sausage should be brown! Remove meat from pan and put in a bowl to cool slightly.
To the bowl of meat add the next three ingredients and the parsley flakes to taste.
Divide dough in half. Roll one half out into a large rectangle. Spread ½ meat mixture first half. Roll dough into a long loaf and seal edges and ends. Place seam side down on lightly greased baking pan. Continue with the second half of the dough and meat mixture.
Cover both loaves and let rise in a warm place for 30 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until the top crust is lightly browned. Brush with butter, optional. Let bread rest for a few minutes before slicing.
To serve, slice bread on the diagonal in one-inch slices. This bread goes well with a tossed salad with Italian dressing.