Some people become vegetarians because they don’t like meat and/or it upsets their body. Not me. I grew up eating some sort of animal everyday – sometimes three times a day and loved it. So when I decided, for humanitarian reasons, to become a vegetarian, it was quite an adjustment.
I found that the key to not falling off the vegetarian wagon is to eat really good food. This is why I started my blog – to help others find delicious alternatives. Vegetarians don’t have to subsist on rice & beans and salads alone.
I’ve been a vegetarian so long now that I rarely miss meat, but when I do, I have my go-to fake meats. There are lots of them out there – some fabulous…and some not.
Which brings me to my “HAM” & CHEESE LOAF. The original recipe used real ham. I’ve found several good fake ham products out there that I substitute for the real thing. Now, let’s be honest – if I were to merely eat the “ham” (quotation marks denote imitation) on it’s own, it wouldn’t be worth the bother. But when I add it to casseroles or, in this case, the sandwich, it serves to give the illusion of ham (without the quotation marks).
Note: For those of you opposed to imitation meats, just leave it out – it’s still a good sandwich.
“HAM” & CHEESE LOAF
- 1 cup water
- 2¼ tsp yeast
- 2 T butter, soft
- 1 cup (4-3/8 oz) rye flour
- 2 T sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- about 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 oz fake ham, cut into 3/8″ – 1/2″ pieces
- 4 oz cheese, cubed – I prefer medium cheddar
- 1/2 cup dill pickles, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T water)
Heat the water to 100º – 104º Fahrenheit. Stir in the yeast and let proof about 5 minutes. Put the rye flour, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, mustard, and 1 cup of the AP flour into the workbowl of a food processor. When the yeast is proofed, turn on the machine and slowly pour in the yeast water. When it’s mixed, add in remaining flour a little at a time, until dough starts to pull away from the sides. You may or may not need all of the remaining cup of flour. Empty dough into greased bowl, flipping dough ball so entire ball is greased. Cover with tea towel or plate and let rise 1 hour.
Place dough on floured parchment paper that lays on top of a tea towel (so the parchment doesn’t slide). Roll dough out into a rectangle, about 14″ wide X 7″ tall (it doesn’t need to be exact).Spread on the “ham”, cheese, then pickles down the center of the dough. Make 1½” cuts along both sides – cut the same number for both sides.Fold in one end, then grab the first dough tabs and twist them together, pinching to make sure they stay. Keep doing this for all the tabs. Slide the parchment onto a large, rimless cookie sheet. Cover loaf with the tea towel and let rise 30 minutes. At this time, preheat oven to 375º F.
When dough has risen the 30 minutes, brush with egg wash and bake at 375º F for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to rack and let set about 15 minutes before serving.