This is my favorite Italian Appetizer
Prep time: 30 min. for the filling. (4 -5 hrs. for kneading and letting the dough rise)
Cook time: 40 – 50 min.
Temp: 375 degrees F
Yield: Approx. 10 – 12 servings
Sausage Bread Ingredients:
- 2 lbs. of ground Italian sausage
- 2 medium sized green bell peppers
- 4 loaves of Italian Bread (I use my Italian Bread Recipe)
*As an alternative you can use frozen bread dough if you can find it, but I highly recommend making the dough yourself. Much better results!
- 5 slices of Bacon
- 16 oz. of Polly-O Mozzarella Cheese (1/2 of a 16 oz. standard package)
- Some fresh grated Parmesan from a block of Parmesan cheese, not the stuff that comes grated in a jar.
Important note about making your own bread dough from scratch: If you have the time to put in a little bit more effort for this recipe, I highly recommend you make this Italian Sausage Bread with my homemade Italian Bread dough. You can go through all the steps I spell out for making Italian bread accept when you get to the part of forming the dough balls for your Italian bread loaves. (The third rise) At that step you will be adding the filling as I mentioned in this recipe and will cook the same as I spell out in the Italian Bread recipe. The difference is the third rising mentioned in the Italian Bread recipe will be with the filling inside. I hope that makes sense? So after the dough has risen twice, you form the dough into (4) equal sized balls. Roll out dough, add filling, form loaf, place on grease and floured cookies sheet and let rise again with the filling. This will give you (4) loaves of bread with filling. (2) cookies sheets with (2) loaves on each. Let rise for an hour then bake. More details below.
See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions
You will start from the point of the third rise of the Italian Bread Recipe.
After the dough has risen twice, you will now need to work the dough into long rectangular pieces to make your loaves. Throw some flour on your “clean” counter. This part is important: You need to separate the dough into (4) equal size balls. Sprinkle with a little flour and place the balls aside and cover with a damp cloth. As you work with the dough balls to create your loaves keep the other balls covered working with one loaf at a time.
Then work the dough with your hands. You don’t need to knead the dough, you just want to start spreading it out with you hands. You may have to sprinkle a little bit of flour on the dough while and surface you are working with. This is OK, but not too much. You will have to work with it a bit, push, pull, spread, smack, whatever it takes. You will get to a point when you will need to switch to a rolling pin to finish off the process. Be careful not to spread the dough to thin, you need some thickness to handle the meat and cheese filling. You can see what I mean in the step by step photos.
While the dough is on it’s second rise you will be preparing the sausage and pepper filling.
Take a the (3) slices of bacon and cut them up into small bits with some scissors. About 1/4″ pieces if you can. Fry up the bacon in the pan until you get a lot of nice bacon grease. Now add the ground Italian sausage and continue to fry. (If you can’t find “ground Italian sausage” then you can get regular linked Italian sausage and remove the guts from the skin and use that.) Cut up (2) medium sized green peppers and throw them in with your sausage half-way through browning. Brown until the sausage gets a nice dark brown look and the peppers are well sautéed into the mix. It is important to use a strong metal spatula so you can work on getting the sausage into the smallest bits as possible, chopping away as you brown. When done, drain out all the grease by tilting pan, hold back meat so grease ends up on one side of the pan, remove grease with spoon, then brown a little more. Then place the meat and peppers onto a plate that has several paper towels on it to further drain the meat. Let this sit long enough to cool.
Grate the Mozzarella cheese onto a plate and place that aside. Also have a block of Parmesan cheese ready to great when you are adding the filling to the dough.
After the meat and pepper filling has cooled, separate this filling into (4) equal sized sections so you have the same amount of filling for each loaf. Spread out your dough as described above, spread out sausage and pepper filling onto dough. Add some grated Mozzarella cheese and grate some Parmesan cheese onto the filling straight from the block of Parmesan. Then roll up your dough into a load. Pinching the seem with wet fingers. Place the loaf on a grease and floured cookie sheet seem side down. Do these with all (4) loaves.
Beat (3) egg whites into a bowl and add a little bit of water, mix with fork. Brush this over the loaves then sprinkle with cornmeal. This will help you get a nice golden brown look to the bread. Now, place the loaves in your preheated oven (375 degrees F) and cook for 40 – 50 minutes. You will need to keep an eye on it. As my Mom says, “You know, just cook it until it’s done, HA!”.
Important note: I usually cook (4) loaves at one time. (2) cookie sheets with (2) loaves on each cookie sheet. One cookie sheet on each oven rack. Cook for 20 minutes, then take the cookie sheets out, brush with more egg white/water mix, sprinkle on more cornmeal and place sheets back in oven reversing the order the where placed in before so the bottom sheet is now on top and visa versa. Usually 40 minutes is perfect!
When done baking, let the loaves cool on a cookie cooling rack. Do NOT slice into the bread until it has sufficiently cooled off. This will be hard because you will want to eat right away! Just have some patience. For presentation, I like to slice up the loaves into small pieces and then place them on a platter like you see below. This way they are nice and easy to grab and eat. This makes a great appetizer!
That’s it! You’re done….. Easy as Pie!
How To Make Sausage Bread Video
Instructional video for Italian Sausage Bread
This shows how I make the sausage bread when I make the dough by hand
Important note: Since I made this video I have revised how I make it a little bit. Difference is, I now make (4) loaves of sausage bread and I add Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese straight from the block!
Sausage Bread Recipe Photo Gallery
Important note: In the first photo where I show all the ingredients on the table I show a bag of whole wheat flour. LOL, wow! I can’t believe I am just seeing this. I realized I had the wrong bag of flour before I started making the bread. I actually use a I use a combination of bread flour and all purpose unbleached flour. Very important not to use whole wheat flour.
Important update: I now make the sausage bread with Italian sausage, green bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Quite wonderful! Here is one of the loaves I made for Superbowl 50.