I never met a loaf of bread I didn’t like. That’s probably because I grew up in a City whose good eating depends on it. The poor boy and muffuletta, two casual sandwiches, were made famous by their bread. As were “Lost Bread” or Pain Perdu, our version of French toast, and bread pudding in all its many incarnations. Whether it’s used as the star of a meal, a mere vehicle to test the doneness of momma’s red gravy or as a prelude to an elegant dinner at a five star restaurant bread is always a welcome, if not expected, part of a meal. And thanks to the influences of the French, German, Italian and more recently Vietnamese bakers who settled in New Orleans, that bread-love extends to every size, shape and color–at least for me.
The German pumpernickel is one of my current flames. The dense, slightly sweet dough that forms from the combination of wheat and rye flour, cocoa and molasses makes it perfect for bold sandwiches. This type of bread also looks pretty and holds its shape when over-stuffed with cheesy, buttery fillings, as is the case with this pull bread. My scrumptious filling is the result of what I had on hand: chewy bacon, smoky Gouda, spicy jalapenos and pungent rosemary. Your tastes may lead you in a totally different direction and that’s totally fine. Pull breads can be made any number of ways. Just be sure to start with a loaf that’s strong enough to handle all the mix-ins and don’t forget the butter.
Beverage-wise, or should I say beer-wise, just about anything works here. If you want to go big, how about trying a Stoudt’s Double IPA? It will nicely compliment this busy finger food with its bready, citrusy taste. A smoky ale (yes, they make those) would also pair great. The hubby says a Millter Lite would too. You’re not surprised by his suggestion are you? Happy Friday!
Until next week …
Rosemary and Smoked Gouda Pumpernickel Pull Bread Recipe
1 large round loaf pumpernickel bread, unsliced
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 stick butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a large piece of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap entire loaf of bread) on a baking sheet; place bread on top of foil. Using a serrated knife, slice bread into diagonal rows, cutting almost to but not through the bottom crust. In a large bowl, combine bacon, cheeses, green onions, jalapeño peppers, garlic, rosemary and garlic powder. Pour melted butter over cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Stuff bread with cheese mixture, wrap in foil and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove foil from top of bread and continue baking until cheese is melted and edges of bread are toasted, about 10 additional minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6-8.