Odds are you’re not going to find an authentic Muffuletta Bread (unless you live in New Orleans). That’s a dilemma, because without the right bread, it’s just not a Muffuletta. It needs to be a round Italian style loaf that is about 25 cm across and has sesame seeds on the top. Good luck finding it!
Making your own is the best way of getting the authentic taste and texture. This is actually a very easy bread recipe. The object is a nice crisp crust and a light centre – you don’t want a chewy, hearty bread for a Muffuletta Sandwich
- 1 cup warm water , 43 - 45°C
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ¾ tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoon lard or vegetable shortening
- sesame seeds
- 2½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the egg wash
- 1 egg
- 1½ tablespoons cold water
- Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir well and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until good and foamy.
- Meanwhile, combine the flours, salt, and lard in a seperate bowl and work in the fat with your hands until broken up into very small pieces.
- When the yeast is foamy, fit the mixer with a dough hook attachment and gradually add the flour on low speed until its all incorporated. Scrape the sides down between additions.
- When the dough comes together, turn it onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.
- Coat a large bowl with the olive oil, then put the dough in, turning once to coat both sides.
- Cover loosely with a clean dry towel, or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours.
- Punch the dough down and shape into a flat round about 23 cm across (it will expand to about 30cm). Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, about 2-3 tablespoon should do it, then press them lightly into the dough.
- Loosely cover the loaf and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- When the dough has risen, remove the cover, gently brush with the egg wash then gently place into a preheated 220°C oven for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to 190°C for an additional 25 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.