One of my family's favorite meals is my baked-in-the-bread sandwich loaf. I got the inspiration for this meal when I was a young Navy wife living in San Diego, from a recipe published in the local paper. The original recipe was called a "Reuben Loaf" and called for corned beef, saurkraut and Russian dressing. I knew my children would never go for that, so instead of the Reuben sandwich ingredients, I substituted ham and cheddar cheese. It became an immediate hit and I've been making it and sharing the recipe since.
Start with your favorite bread dough. Here is one that I like. If you use my recipe, it will make two large loaves, so cut it in half for one. Or make one sandwich loaf and one round loaf. After the dough has risen once, punch it down and roll it into a rectangle. Don't get too hung up about the shape. An oblong or oval will work fine too.
Spread your sandwich filling down the center of the dough like this (see what I mean about not worrying about the shape? )
Then cut 5-6 slashes on either side of the dough thusly
Then, "braid" the dough by covering the filling first with one side's strips
then the other side
until they're all done. Again, don't worry too much about what it looks like at this point. The dough will rise and fill it in.
Put the loaf on a greased baking sheet and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes. I like to serve with an assortment of salads and mustard or other dipping sauce.
Just for fun, since I don't have small children any more, I decided to make this more like the original recipe. I made a rye dough (substituting rye flour for the whole wheat) and used corned beef, swiss cheese and saurkraut for the filling.
I served it with Russian dressing on the side, Asian slaw and a fruit salad. It was delicious!