When we lived in Villanova, outside of Philadelphia, my sons and their friends used to love grabbing something to eat which didn’t need to be heated. Just Grab and Go! Therefore, they loved Ham ‘n Swiss Bread. Ham ‘n Swiss Bread is good reheated, at room temperature or right out of the oven = which makes it nice for a party or a picnic.
Oven at 375 F Bake for 30 minutes Makes one Ham ‘n Swiss Bread
- white bread dough – enough for one bread, either made from scratch or purchased. ++ Of course, if it’s frozen…. you’ll have to thaw it first. Follow directions on the package.)
- 3 cups chopped ham (I used a 12 oz. packaged ham slice)
- 1 cup chopped Swiss cheese
- 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs. grainy mustard (I use Grey Poupon “Country Djion”)
- a bit of oil to grease baking sheet
- 1 egg, beaten – to be used right before baking
Place dough (after thawing, if necessary) in a medium-sized greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (or a dish towel). Allow dough to almost double in size in a warm place. (I like to warm up the oven – just a tiny bit – and leave the dough to rise there – out of any drafts.)
Once dough has risen, remove it from bowl and ‘punch it down’, which means punching or pressing the dough down until it’s, basically, hardly any bigger than when you first placed it into the covered bowl. This rising is called (no surprise here..) – The First Rising.
Form the punched down dough into a log shape about 8″ long.
Place “dough log” onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten down with your hands – or a rolling-pin – into a rectangle about 11″ x 13′. ++ The rectangle doesn’t have to be perfect.
Once you begin working the dough, it’ll get softer and your job will be easier. Here I am stretching the dough. Whatever works, right? ++ I discovered purchased bread dough is harder to work with than homemade bread dough.
Mix chopped ham and chopped Swiss cheese with 1 Tbs. mustard and 1 Tbs. mayonnaise. Spread the mixture in the center of the rectangle. Then, using kitchen shears (you can use a knife, but I think shears make the job easier), make cuts at 1″ intervals on both sides of the dough – cutting towards the center.
One by one, take a strip from each side and bring them together in the middle of the loaf. Twist the two ends together, using the photo of the finished bread as your model. Don’t worry – it’s super easy. And, actually, kind of fun! ++ You might have to stretch some strips a little bit to make them ‘meet’.
After you’ve finished twisting – admire you handiwork for a minute – then cover bread with a dish towel. (Tea towel for my British, Maltese & Australian friends!!). Allow bread to rise for the second time, which should take about 40 minutes.
When bread has risen sufficiently, meaning almost doubled in size, heat oven to 375F. ++ Don’t forget to remove bread from oven – if it’s been rising there.
Using a brush or your fingers (I always use my fingers…) spread beaten egg on the risen bread.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Bread should be golden brown, and should sound hollow when lightly tapped. Enjoy!!