This Stuffed Italian Bread is so much fun to make…and even more fun to eat! It’s packed with mozzarella, Parmesan, sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives!
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I really love baking bread. We were having dinner with friends recently (I had brought a loaf of this French Peasant Bread to share), and we got to talking about baking bread. They asked why I loved baking bread so much, and I stopped to think. In the end, I think it’s because bread comes from just a couple simple ingredients. Flour, yeast, salt and water. That’s it. Sure, you can add in other flavors, but at it’s core, bread is really very simple. Plus, how those 4 basic ingredients come together to create a loaf of warm, delicious bread is like magic to me!
I stumbled across this Pane Bianco recipe from King Arthur Flour recently, and it made me stop and
drool think about making my own loaf. So I did just that! I visited King Arthur’s baking center in Vermont several years ago, and I swear that place is like Camelot for bakers. I wouldn’t have been one bit surprised if the legendary King Arthur himself had walked around the corner. They have an amazing cafe there, too…full of, you guessed it, fresh breads baked by Merlin magicians in the back room.
Stuffed Italian Bread
But back to this Stuffed Italian Bread recipe. They called this Pane Bianco, which is Italian for ‘white bread.’ This bread is so much more than white bread! I mean I love any and all breads, but the term ‘white bread’ doesn’t even begin to describe this one. Sure, it’s a basic white bread base…but then it gets stuffed with sundried tomatoes, garlic and chopped kalamata olives. (I decided to add the kalamatas here because I love a good olive bread, but feel free to omit them if you’re not an olive lover.) Even Stuffed Italian Bread doesn’t even do this recipe justice, but it’s the closest I could come without calling this “Sundried Tomato and Kalamata Olive and Garlic and Basil Stuffed Bread”…and that’s a mouthful.
This bread really made me stop and rethink bread baking, though. Not so much the actual bread recipe, although it is a good one! Nope, this Stuffed Italian Bread made me stop and rethink how to shape bread. Look at how cool this bread turned out! And it’s really rather simple. I just rolled the dough into a long rectangle and then stuffed all sorts of fun fillings into it. Then I rolled it up and shaped it like a big “S.” A quick little snip down the center with the kitchen shears opened up the middle so you could peek inside and see the delicious sundried tomatoes and kalamatas. Plus, as the dough rose for the 2nd time, that little snip down the center opened up to reveal the fillings even more. Fascinating! It was like a delicious present wrapped in bread dough!
Ok, I’m sure I’ve convinced you that I am a total nerd. But I love baking bread. I also love eating bread. I find it darned near impossible to turn away from a warm loaf of bread…and then you stuff that bread with tasty fillings? Sold! This Stuffed Italian Bread is now a staple in our rotation, and I’m planning on making another batch to take to our friends’ house this weekend.
If you’re not into making homemade dough, you could start with a batch of storebought bread dough…but I challenge you to make your own. It’ll taste way better, and it’s kinda fun to see flour, yeast, salt and water transform into bread! Enjoy this Stuffed Italian Bread, my friends!
Looking for more homemade bread recipes? Check out these favorites!
Italian Stuffed Bread
For the Dough
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk warmed
- ⅓ cup water warmed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
For the Filling
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese
- 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup kalamata olives chopped
- 2½ tsp garlic minced
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
For the Topping
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- Using an electric mixer, add all dough ingredients and mix on medium speed until smooth.
- Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 60 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size. (Tip: I like using my oven when letting bread rise. Place covered bowl in oven with only the oven light on.)
- Place dough on a floured cutting board or countertop; roll into a 22” x 10” rectangle. Spread mozzarella, Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic and basil across top of dough.
- Starting with a long edge, roll dough into a tight log; pinch edges to seal. Place log seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut a 1” deep slice lengthwise down center of dough, starting ½” from one edge and ending ½” before other edge. Keeping cut side up, shape dough into a large “S” shape. Tuck both edges under to create a “Figure 8” shape; pinch ends together to seal.
- Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm location for 45 minutes, or until approximately doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a small bowl, whisk together all topping ingredients. Remove plastic wrap and brush top of bread with the olive oil mixture.
- Bake for 38-40 minutes, tenting with foil after 20 minutes to prevent top from burning.