Braided Reuben Sandwich Loaf

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My husband absolutely loves Reuben sandwiches so I thought I'd try this yummy looking braided sandwich loaf from the new Real Mom Kitchen Cookbook. It was really good. Sandwich dinners are one of my kids' favorites and they all loved it. I used a batch of my own bread/pizza/scone dough and it worked great, though I did have to use the other half of the dough for rolls (which went great soup the next day), since you only need the dough for one loaf to make this sandwich. You could also use a thawed loaf of Rhodes frozen bread dough, or your own homemade dough for 1 loaf of bread.

Braided Reuben Sandwich Loaf

5 1/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 rounded tablespoon SAF yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid lecithin
2 1/4 cups hot tap water

Sandwich Filling:
1/2 lb thin sliced pastrami or corned beef
8 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup thousand island dressing, plus more for dipping
caraway seeds, optional, for top of loaf to give it a rye bread like taste

First make the dough. Mix dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer: flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add lecithin and water. Mix for 1 minutes with dough hook. Check consistency of dough, it should be like a stiff cookie dough, adding a little more water if it's too dry or a little more flour if it's too moist. Mix for 5 minutes. Do not add any water or flour after it has finished.

Spray counter with cooking spray and also spray your hands so you can work with dough. Knead dough into a smooth ball. Cut in half. Set aside 1 half for the sandwich loaf and the other half you can form into equal balls for rolls (place in a greased 9x13, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 25 minutes, then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top and bottom) or make a regular loaf of bread (form into a loaf, place in a greased loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 25 minutes, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden on top and sounds hallow when tapped).

Take the half of bread dough for the braided sandwich loaf and roll out into a large rectangle, about the size of a baking sheet. Put this rolled out dough onto your non-stick sprayed baking sheet and press the dough out the the edges. Cut 3 inch long cuts 1 inch apart along the sides of the dough (refer to picture below). Down the center of the dough place pastrami, 1/4 cup thousand island dressing, and Swiss cheese slices. Braid the strips over the center section to create a loaf. Roll the ends of the dough, seal and pinch to make sure the end don't open when baking. If desired, sprinkle with caraway seeds and press into the dough. Bake at 350 for  25-30 minutes or until golden on top and bottom. When it comes out of the oven brush with melted butter. Allow loaf to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Cut into slices and serve with extra thousand island dressing for dipping.

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