Thursday, June 5, 2014

When Life Hands You Two Flattened Bread Disks

I was making some sourdough bread a few weeks ago. It was my first batch in awhile, so I was feeling pretty psyched about having freshly baked bread to go along with all the freshly canned jam in my house. Everything went smoothly until the final rise. I set it out on the counter and headed to dinner, expecting to return a couple hours later to bake it. Dinner went long and turned into trivia, and frankly, when trivia calls, Pattiwagon answers. So when I arrived home four hours later, I was met with two flattened discs of dough. I immediately put them in the oven, hoping for some immaculate levitation. Did not happen, and they came out of the oven as such:

I tried one slice, and it was a lot more like biscotti and a lot less like bread. That's when the cogs started turning. One of my favorite things about cooking and crafting is problem solving. It is here where I feel my most creative (and my most profane). I knew I wanted to do a pressed picnic sandwich with one loaf. I made a sandwich like this for my tubing trip a couple years ago. I didn't take any photographs then, so while it was blog-worthy, it never made the cut. Now the perfect opportunity presented itself. So, on to the recipe!

I first sliced the loaf open and scooped out excess breadiness on both the top and the bottom (instant breadcrumbs!). 
Then I mixed together mayonnaise and pesto and schmeared it (heavily), again on both the top and the bottom.

I layered on salami, capicola, provolone, marinated artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sounds like a good sandwich, right? If you're patient, it will get even better.

I put the top back on, wrapped the whole loaf in plastic wrap, and set it in my fridge with my iron skillet (and a brick) on top. I let it sit for 24 hours. Totally worth it.

This is a great picnic sandwich for several reasons. 1. It's delicious. 2. It gets better with age. 3. It's not going to suffer from getting squished at the bottom of your cooler. In fact, it will thrive here. You don't have to mess up sourdough bread to make it though. I recommend ciabatta or foccacia as excellent bread options. 

For the other loaf, I made a "calzone." I scooped out all the excess bread again, but this time, I filled the cavity with pizza toppings - tomato sauce, sausage, pepperoni, onions, green pepper, and a healthy amount of cheese. I put the lid on, wrapped it foil, and baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes. 
The crusts were a little bread-heavy. I would make them a little thinner or just pile pizza toppings up to the edge. 

It turned out quite nicely, but it was difficult to eat, so I don't recommend this one with as much gusto as the pressed sandwich. However, the cold leftovers the next day made a perfect pizza sandwich, which would be a great treat in your picnic basket this summer. 

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