Emily and I experimented with several recipes, including Rhodes' rolls recipe. This is what we came up with. It's been an especially fun effort. We've even distributed Spinach Loaves one year for our Christmas Gifts -- image doing 45 of these! Great buffet finger food. Huge personal favorite.
1 pk Rapid-rise yeast
1 tb Sugar
2/3 c Water, heated to 125F
2 ½ c Flour (or more)
1 t Salt
3 T Butter, melted
1 Egg, lightly beaten
COMBINE yeast, sugar and water; mix well. Allow to sit for four minutes.
IN MIXER OR FOOD PROCESSOR, combine 1-1/2 cups of the bread flour, salt, butter and egg. Add the yeast mixture. Process or knead, adding enough flour in 1/2-cup increments, to make a soft dough. Knead until elastic and smooth, 1 minute in a food processor or 10 minutes in a mixer or by hand. Place in oiled plastic bag or turn in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes or, if you have time, let it double.
1 c Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c Chopped Onion
4 cloves Garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Cube Butter
In large mixing bowl, COMBINE Sauteed Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic with:
3 c Chopped fresh spinach (oR substitute two packages (10 oz each) Frozen Spinach,
thawed, drained and squeezed dry)
1 Can Black olives, pitted and sliced
¾ c Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ c Parmesan cheese, grated
½ c Pimento
1 lb (2 blocks) Cream cheese - at room temperature
2 cubes Butter -- at room temperature
2 tb Fresh chopped basil
2 tb Fresh chopped rosemary
To taste Salt and freshly ground pepper
Spray board or counter with non-stick cooking spray. Roll dough into a 12x18-inch rectangle. With a clean ruler, gently mark a 4-inch space down the center. Spread filling mixture down center of the dough. Make cuts on sides of dough from filling to dough edges. Begin braid by folding top row toward filling. Then fold strips left over right, right over left. Fold bottom end towards filling and finish by pulling last strip and tucking under. Lift braid with both hands and place on large sprayed baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake at 350° F 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.