Linguiça Sausage and Proscuitto Bread (Bola ou Folar de Presunto e Linguiça)

Serves 6-8

These breads make perfect additions to tailgate parties, picnic baskets, or slice them thin for appetizers. My brother liked to add some Portuguese São Jorge cheese to the dough, it is always a hit. For this recipe, I find the best results come from using a wooden oven peels, like those used in pizza shops and an oven stone.

½ ounce dry yeast or two ¼ ounces packages dry yeast

½ cup warm water + 2 tablespoons (100 -110 degrees F/ 35 to 40 degrees C)3 ½ to 4 cups flour as needed

½ teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

4 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter

1 1/2 pounds linguiça , cut in ¼-inch round slices or presunto, (like Prosciutto) or combination thinly sliced

1 cup grated São Jorge or other cheese (optional)

Egg wash made with 1 egg beaten and 1 tablespoon water

Tools:  Oven stone, Wooden peel, Fine cornmeal for dusting, Parchment paper (optional)

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (not hotter than 110 degrees), letting it stand for 10 minutes to proof.
  2. Mix 3 cups of the flour with the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Into the well, pour the lightly beaten eggs,
  3. tablespoons water, yeast sponge and olive oil. Use your hands to form a shaggy dough. Incorporate enough of the remaining flour until a medium dough (not sticky or loose) is formed. The dough should leave the sides of the bowl clean.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is fairly smooth and gives a light spring when pressed with your index finger. Shape into a ball, give it a light dusting with flour and cover with a towel. Set in a warm draft-free spot to rise until double. To test if the dough is ready, poke your finger into it; an indentation should remain.
  5. Without punching dough, use a dough scraper or knife to divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Stretch or rollout each part on a lightly floured work surface, to about 6- by 8-inch rectangle. Spread slices of sausage and/or presunto over, leaving a 1-inch border all around. If using, add some grated cheese at this time. With the long edge facing you, roll it like a jellyroll. Pinch to seal the edges. Place on a lightly floured surface or place on individual sheets of parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let rest for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Set a baking stone in a cold oven and preheat 425 degrees F. Dust a wooden oven peel with fine cornmeal. Place the sausage rolls on the wooden peel, brush with the egg wash and transfer them to the preheated oven stone. (If using parchment paper, you can just slide the bolos with the parchment paper onto the wooden peels and place on the stones. These can also be baked on a lightly oiled sheet pan. )
  7. Bake at 425 degrees F. for about 25 minutes depending on size, until richly golden. The bottom should give a fairly hollow sound when tapped.

Variation: Another variation is to stuff the dough with sardines, trimmed and gutted. Fillet the sardines, remove the center bones then seasoned with salt and drizzled lightly with olive oil before adding to the dough..

For a modern twist, caramelized onions along with your favorite cheese can be added to the linguiça and presunto filling.

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