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Muffuletta Sandwiches



In New Orleans the two best Muffulettas, bar none, can be had at Central Grocery or at Napoleon House on Chartres Street.
Muffuletta Bread
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
About 3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Sesame seeds


In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Stir in yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine 3 cups flour, salt and shortening. Add yeast mixture. Process until dough forms a ball, about 5 seconds. Stop machine; check consistency of dough. It should be smooth and satiny. If dough is too dry, add more warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, processing just until blended. If dough is too sticky, add more flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, processing just until blended. Process 20 seconds to knead.
Lightly oil a large bowl, swirling to coat bottom and sides. Place dough in oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. When dough has doubled in bulk, punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round loaf about 10 inches in diameter; place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle top of loaf with sesame seeds; press seeds gently into surface of loaf. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 1 hour.
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. Bake loaf in center of preheated oven 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F; bake 25 minutes. The loaf is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool completely on a rack before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.













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