1 (10oz) pkg frozen broccoli spears
6 oz thinly sliced boiled ham (~1 cup)
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (~1 cup)
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 to 5 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 tsp (2 pkg) active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup margarine
Make bread dough: Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a bread hook. Mix on low until combined. Meanwhile, heat water, milk, and margarine until very warm (120-130°F). Turn mixer to low (Kitchenaid #2) and gradually add liquid to flour mixture, about 30 seconds. Mix 1 minute longer. Continue on low, adding remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, as needed. Mix until dough clings to hook, about 5 minutes. Knead dough for 7 to 10 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
First Rise: Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; place bowl in a pan of water at about 98°F. Let rise 15 minutes.
Filling: While dough rises, thaw and drain broccoli. Coarsely chop broccoli and ham. Mix broccoli, ham, cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Form the Braid: Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll one piece to a 10x9" rectangle. Spread half the mustard down the center to within a half inch of the narrow ends. Spoon half the broccoli mixture down the center of the dough. Along each long side, cut nine 2.5" long diagonal slices, one inch apart. Starting at one end, crisscross strips over filling, pressing ends in dough to seal. Lift bread onto cookie sheet. Make another loaf with the remaining dough and filling.
Shaped Rise and Bake: Cover loaves and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Brush loaves with beaten egg and bake at 375°F for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.
Notes: This is the recipe for the beloved braided sandwich loaf referenced in Flippant.
My mother wants you to know that it is good with turkey, too. We sometimes change the variety of cheese, but not the amount. We like it with more mustard than indicated: I just eyeball the amount for each braid. Also, I often make the bread with unsalted butter instead of the margarine called for in the recipe.
The bread portion can be made with a different recipe yeilding 1 lb of bread dough: follow the instructions for your preferred bread dough stopping just before the final, shaped rise of the bread dough and switch to these instructions starting with step 3.
Alternately, frozen bread dough can be used. Thaw the bread dough and let rise in a warm draft-free spot for 3 to 4 hours before continuing with step 3 of the recipe. Thaw in refrigerator: Put the frozen bread loaf in a plastic bag; seal and let stand for 10 hours until dough is pliable. Thaw at room temperature: put frozen bread loaf in a plastic bag; seal and let stand in a warm draft-free spot for 3 to 4 hours