Fresh bread is great. Stuffed braided Sloppy Joe bread is even better! This bread is made with a rich yeast dough, stuffed with a flavorful meat filling and heaps of cheese and baked to perfection.
I created this recipe because as the world is regaining some normalcy, I expect many of us will be getting together with friends and family. This stuffed bread is a real crowd pleaser and when sliced up are the perfect burgers that need no assembling.
- Dough: When making dough, always test/proof your yeast first and make sure it’s not expired regardless of whether the packet says to add the yeast directly to the flour. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp. To proof the yeast, simply add that amount to 1/2 cup lukewarm water plus a tsp of sugar. If it gets foamy within 5 mins, the yeast is good.
- Filling: You can switch up the filling with chicken or even vegetables. Leftovers would also be great.
- Spread: In this recipe, I use chipotle mayo and it really hits the spot! You can also use plain mayo but the flavor will need some ooomph so make sure you add some extra heat to the filling.
- Topping: Once you have braided the bread, brush with milk (egg wash is not needed but you can mix an egg with some milk), and sprinkle on some kalonji seeds (nigella). The seeds are going to add such an incredible texture and flavor. You want to gently press the kalonji so they stick to the dough. Alternatively, you can add cumin seeds. For more flavor, you can lightly toast the seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
Can we freeze the bread?
This bread freezes really well after fully baked. I would recommend slicing it up into individual servings for convenience and freezing in a ziplock bag. To reheat, simply toast it covered in foil in your toaster oven for 10 mins and then microwave for 30 seconds to completely defrost the filling. This is especially convenient during Ramadan and other holidays throughout the year.
Stuffed Braided Bread with Sloppy Joe Meat and Cheese Filling
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast mixed in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 tsp sugar to "proof" it
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg beaten lightly
- 1 lb ground #beef
- 3/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 red onion you can also use white or yellow onion
- 1/2 green chili
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Proof yeast by mixing the yeast in 1/2 cup water and a tsp of sugar. Once it gets frothy (about 5 mins) you can proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- In a bowl mix flour and salt followed by the wet ingredients: olive oil, the yeast we proofed and milk and egg. Knead by hand for about 15 mins or 6-7 in the standing mixer until the dough becomes really soft and pliable and does not stick. If sticky, you can add more flour.
- Let the dough rise in a bowl (lightly greased with olive oil) for an hour or so until doubled (or even tripled) in size.
- While the dough is rising, mix all the meat filling ingredients really well and fry in a few tbsp of oil for 15 mins or until cooked through. Set aside.
- Once, the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it 1/4 inch thick and transfer to a baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil. Cut 13-14 strips on both sides for the braiding, leaving the center to be filled.
- At this point, preheat your oven to 425F.
- Smear chipotle mayo, followed by the filling and heaps of cheese to your liking and braid the bread by bringing each strip to the other side at an angle. Make sure the filling is not exposed.
- Brush the bread with milk and top with kalonji seeds, gently pressing them in so they stick.
- Bake at 425F for 20-25 min. The top will be lovely and golden brown at about 20 mins and tapping the underside will produce a hollow sound. Note that as the bread cools, the bread will no longer sound hollow because the filling will weigh it down. This is normal.
- Once the bread has baked, immediately run a small cube of butter over the top. The butter will add shine and also make the bread a bit soft. Let the bread rest for 5-10 mins, then slice up and ENJOY!
- DO NOT line the baking sheet with parchment paper. The dough will stick to it.
- If you can't braid the bread, you can simply bring the two sides over. Make sure that there is no gaping holes in the braiding because the filling if exposed will get unnecessarily charred.
- The bread freezes really well. I recommend slicing up to individual servings and freezing in a ziplock bag. To reheat, simply toast in the oven covered in foil at 350F for 10 mins, and then nuke it in the microwave uncovered for 30 seconds to completely thaw the meat filling.