Weekend drives are very much becoming a ritual these days. The little girl has come to expect it. With her tucked in on the back seat, we often drive out and about town. Watching Saira sing songs in her toddler language, or fuss with her “haaat” (which is a hat,) or sometimes sleep peacefully on the back seat gives us a kind of comfort we had never known before she came along. When asleep, she strangely resembles a puffy dough ball – we look forward to that.
I often request a drive through Kelligrews and out to the Goulds so I can make a detour to Bidgoods Grocery. I have recently discovered the wealth Bidgoods holds. They are known for their traditional fare, in addition to being a regular grocery. Their bakery, deli, and traditional Newfoundland items are pretty enticing. We discovered bison sausages this spring; I may have just found my summer BBQ addiction.
I had tried baking homemade bread before. Very soon I had to give up baking bricks! Pre-made dough preserves my baking ego. Bidgoods certainly makes a great loaf of bread; their touton dough is a delicious commodity. I couldn’t help buying a pack when I eyed the lofty white dough all ready for baking. Bread dough freezes well…that makes it to my ‘must-have’ list.
This recipe takes me back to our 24 hour lay-over in Frankfurt on our way to India in 2010. While our then five month old and I rested in the airport hotel room, Tony ran over to the cavernous airport to find something very German for a snack. A long baguette-like bread with speck (“Seele mit Speck”) was one of his purchases. So began my love of speck bread. I can’t find much speck here in St. John’s, but Dominion grocery has started to sell coppa, which could fool me for speck.
When baked with coppa and provolone and hot out of the oven or cooled, this bread is delicious. It can be an appetizer by itself, or serve as a hearty side for a good bowl of soup. This is most definitely a comfort food for me – the comfort of finding a homey taste abroad.
Coppa Cheese Bread
Bread Dough: 600 gms
Dry coppa: 1 cup ,thinly sliced
Gruyere Cheese: 1 cup, thinly sliced or grated
Fresh Oregano: 2 sprigs
Butter: 1 tsp melted just enough for glazing
If using frozen dough, leave out on counter in a covered bowl until it totally thawed out and at room temperature. Divide dough into two equal parts. Take one part and stretch dough with hands without putting too much pressure into a oval or rectangular shape. You don’t have to be very particular or neat with this, as any unevenness gives it a nice rustic look.
Spread half of the shredded cheese, coppa, and sprinkle some fresh oregano.
Do the same with the rest of the dough. Stretch out by hand and carefully lay over the first piece. Now repeat with the cheese, coppa and oregano.
Fold sides then carefully roll the dough. Brush the top of the molded bread with melted butter and sprinkle some cheese and oregano if you like. Place over baking tray with silicon or parchment, cover with tea towel and let rise for at least an hour.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes. It should feel light. Serve warm and eat within the next day.
Enjoy with a side of pesto or a hot bowl of soup!