Stuffing Bread

When I was growing up, we didn’t have bread stuffing on the holiday table. Or mashed potatoes. Gasp. It was a Greek thing, or that’s what I was told. I’m sure there are plenty of Greek families whose tables abound with these items, but we had roasted potatoes and a sweet/savory rice dressing, period.

Today we’re more integrated and there’s a bit of everything on the table, including bread stuffing, and it’s one of my favorite holiday foods.

There is a Thanksgiving inspired sandwich recipe in the making, and for it I thought of doing what a lot of delis do—adding stuffing to the sandwich—but that seemed a bit like carb overkill. Instead I made bread with the flavors of stuffing to compliment all the leftover turkey coming our way over the next few months.

Stuffing Bread (makes one loaf)

1 package or 2-1/4 teaspoons (11.25ml) active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. (30ml) honey
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
1 cup (240ml) warm milk (I used 2%, but use what you like)
4 Tbsp. (60ml) melted, cooled butter
1 bunch chopped chives (the bunch I used amounted to 6 Tbsp. or 90ml)
1 Tbsp. (15ml) chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) chopped fresh sage
3-4 cups (720ml to 960ml) all purpose flour
Vegetable oil and melted butter

1 – 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13cm) bread pan, greased

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C), and adjust the rack to the lower middle position.

Note: Take out the herbs and this is a great recipe for plain white bread.

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, salt, honey, butter and milk. Mix and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine three cups of the flour and the chives, thyme and sage. Make sure the herbs are evenly distributed throughout the flour.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients until they are mostly combined, then use your hand to knead the dough in the bowl until it all comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until you have a soft, smooth, elastic dough, about five minutes. Add more flour only if the dough is sticky.

Grease a medium bowl with vegetable oil, and turn the dough ball over in the bowl until greased on all sides. Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface of the dough, cover with a cloth towel and tuck into a warm space to rise for one hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured board, and gently press down to form into a 9 x 12 inch (23 x 30cm) rectangle.

Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seam that runs the length of the bread closed.

Put the rolled dough into the greased bread pan. Brush the loaf with a light coating of vegetable oil, or if you have an oil sprayer, give it a misting.

Loosely cover the loaf with plastic wrap and tuck it into a warm place to rise for another hour.

Gently brush the risen loaf with butter.

Place in the preheated oven, and bake until the crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it, about 40 minutes.