Braided Sandwich Loaf

www.jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com
Time: about 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 2 large sandwich loaves

Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

Dough:

1 T shortening
2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 C boiling water
1 C cold water
1/3 C lukewarm water
1 T yeast
5-6 C flour
1 egg
Filling:
16 slices deli ham or turkey
8 slices Swiss or provolone cheese

Topping:
      ***any of the following***
Poppy Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Dried Onions
Cheese

1. To make the dough dissolve 1 T yeast in 1/3 C lukewarm water.
2. In the bottom of your mixer smash the sugar, salt and shortening together with a fork until well combined.
3. Pour the boiling water over the sugar mixture.
4. Pour the cold water over the sugar mixture.
5. Pour the yeast/water mixture over the sugar mixture.
6. Add the flour 1 C at a time while mixing. You know you have enough flour when the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
7. Once you have enough flour mix on high for 7-8 minutes.
8. Let the dough rest for about 2 minutes in the bowl.
9. Divide the dough into two equal parts and let them rest on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray for about 5 minutes.
10. Spray some cooking spray onto your counter. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut 11-12 one inch wide strips along both long sides of the rectangle. Be sure to leave about 5 inches down the center uncut. You want to leave room for your deli treasures. Place about 8 slices of meat and 4 slices of cheese down the center of the dough. 
11. Over lap the dough strips in the center over the top of your fillings.
12. Beat the egg with a fork until frothy. Brush the egg all over the loaf. Sprinkle desired seasonings on top.
13. Place the sandwich loaf on a large cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
14. Repeat these steps with the other piece of dough.
15. Let the dough rise in a warm oven (I turn mine to 170 degrees) for about 20 minutes.
16. Turn your oven up to 400 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes. (Leave the dough inside while the temperature rises)
17. When the loaves are golden brown on top turn the oven down to 350, switch the pan on the bottom rack to the top and vice versa. 
Bake for another 5 minutes.
18. Let the loaves rest for about 5 minutes, then cut and enjoy!
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