This is the best sausage-stuffed homemade bread you will find. We always make two loaves so we can eat one right out of the oven while it is warm, and have the second one to serve at dinner. My sister Lisa inherited my Mother’s love of bread-making, and has become a great baker herself. Her version of briolata is outstanding! I think the extra pepper was key. Here is the progression of rolling up the bread dough into a ring.
Our Family's Briolata - Italian Sausage Bread
- 2 packages dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water 110-115 degrees
- 2 TB sugar
- 1 TB salt
- 5 ½ cups flour plus extra for rolling
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 large onions sliced
- ½ stick butter
- 3 lbs. mild Italian sausage casings removed
- 2 TB coarse ground black pepper
In the Kitchenaid bowl, add warm water and the yeast. Mix to dissolve. Add sugar and cover for 5 minutes until the yeast blooms. Add oil to yeast mixture and mix.
In another bowl add flour and mix in salt.
Using the dough hook on the Kitchenaid, start adding one cup of flour at a time to the yeast/oil mixture. Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, let it knead for another 5 minutes. Turn the dough onto a floured board, and knead by hand a few times. Cover the dough with an inverted bowl and let rest 15 minutes.
Pour 1 TB olive oil in a large glass bowl. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, and turn upside down to coat both sides. Cover with towels, and let rise until doubled in a warm place free of draft. Should be about 1-2 hours.
Fry onions in ½ stick butter on medium until soft and slightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.
Crumble sausage into same skillet. Fry with 1 TB olive oil until browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
Cut dough in half. Roll one half on a floured board to approximately 14 x 18 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with 1 TB of black pepper. Spread ½ the onions and ½ the sausage over the dough. Carefully roll the dough lengthwise like a jellyroll. Form in a circle, and pinch the ends together. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover the bread with a towel and let rise again for 30 minutes. Repeat with the second dough half.
Bake in oven at 400F for 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350F for another 30 minutes or until brown.
Cut one piece from one of the loafs to be sure the center is done. If not, put back in oven checking every 5-10 minutes
Eat the first loaf right away while it's warm. Save the second loaf for your guests.