Mama’s Sausage Bread – Serves 8

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes (ish)
Ingredients: 2lbs loose sweet Italian sausage links (or remove casings from 2lbs of links)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese (approx. 4 cups)
6 cups flour (set aside 1 cup of the 6)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 envelope rapid rise dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons finely grated locatelli cheese or parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions: 1. In frying pan, brown sausage over medium high heat.
2. Drain drippings and let cool.
3. Mix 2 eggs, basil, fennel seeds and mozzarella into cooled sausage and set aside.
4. In large bowl, combine 5 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
5. In small sauce pan, heat water, milk and butter until hot to the touch (about 125°), and stir into dry mixture.
6. Mix in only enough of the reserved 1 cup of flour to make a soft dough.
7. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes).
8. Cover dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.
9. Divide dough in half, set one half aside.
10. Roll half the dough into a 6″ x 18″ rectangle.
11. Spoon half the sausage mixture evenly over the dough to within a 1/2 of the edges.
12. Fold the dough over the sausage filling and overlap the dough by about 1 1/2″, seal seam and ends by pinching dough together.
13. Carefully transfer filled dough to a greased baking sheet in a horseshoe shape.
14. With a very sharp knife or razor, make slashes in the top of dough about 1/2″ deep and about 2″ apart.
15. Repeat rolling and filling with remaining piece of dough.
16. Beat remaining egg and brush over both loves of bread.
17. Lightly sprinkle 1 TB of Locatelli or Parmesan cheese over each loaf (optional).
18. Cover loaves and let rise until doubled (about 40-50 minutes).
19. Bake in preheated 375° oven for about 25-30 minutes or until done.
20. Remove from baking sheets and cool slightly.
21. Serve warm.
22. Refrigerate leftovers.
23. Bread can be made a day ahead of time and then warmed in the oven before serving.
Related article:   Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

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