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Surprise bread

Surprise bread
This recipe is for a large surprise bread so you can make six layers (48 small sandwiches if you divide each layer in 8), with three different flavours: smoked salmon/lime, smoked ham/butter, mayonnaise/chicken.
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Sandwich breadTomato foccacia

For 1 Surprise bread, you will need:

Nutritional information:

Whole recipe
 Per 100 g 
  • Recipe seen 351,855 times
  • Already noted 88 times
  • Average note : 2.6/3

% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories by day for a woman (change to a man).


Preparation : 1 hour 34 min.
Resting : 4 hours
Cooking : 50 min.
Start to finish : 6 hours 24 min.

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 For 1 Surprise bread : 24.86 €

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Step by step recipe:

If you are making your own bread, proceed as for the new leavened bread or mixed seed bread (as in these photos).

Put the dough seam downwards, in a large deep round tin or mould, lined with baking parchment to facilitate turning out (unless you are using a non-stick mould).

The mould in this photo is 20 cm (8") diameter, 12 cm (4.5") high.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #1
After two hours, when the dough is well risen, bake a little longer than a normal loaf.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #2
Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

The results are better if you use a loaf that's not too fresh, so make it the day before.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #3
On the day, cut the top off the loaf, just where it becomes rounded, to obtain the smallest possible lid, and the largest straight cylinder possible.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #4
With a bread knife (or other serrated knife - this is important), cut vertcally all around the inside of the loaf. Go round twice if necessry to make sure it's cut through from top to bottom.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #5
Insert the knife into the base of the loaf and cut using a sweeping, sawing movement.

The aim is to slice off the base horizontally to obtain a "perfect" crumb cylinder.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #6
Now comes the tricky moment: extracting the soft cylinder of bread intact from its ring of crust. That's why there is a .

It should be fairly easy, if you have cut round well enough beforehand, to turn the loaf upside down and shake it gently.

You can also slip a metallic spatula or a pallette knife down the side and make small see-saw movements.

Don't get bad tempered or panic, but go at it gently, carefully, and stay zen...
Surprise bread : Photo of step #7
If you succeed and manage this, what follows is only sandwiches!
Surprise bread : Photo of step #8
Cut the block of bread in half vertically.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #9
Then slice each half thinly (1/2 cm, 1/4" approx.).

You will need an even number of slices, and keep them in order, because they will be assembled in pairs, and it is much easier if they were cut next to each other with similar size and shape.

Then, begin the fillings:
Surprise bread : Photo of step #10
For smoked ham: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and butter one of each pair.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #11
Put a slice of ham on the butter, and trim of any that overhangs the bread with scissors or a very sharp knife (it's easier with scissors ).
Surprise bread : Photo of step #12
Put the top slices on the sandwiches.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #13
And cut each one into 4.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #14
For smoked salmon: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, squeeze lime juice one slice of each pair, and butter the other.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #15
On the butter put a slice of smoked salmon, trim off any extra, and complete the sandwiches, then cut into 4.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #16
For chicken mayonnaise: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and spread mayonnaise over each one.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #17
Arrange small pieces of cooked chicken on half, complete the sandwiches, and cut into 4.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #18
Begin the assembly of the surprise bread by making a layer of 8 sandwiches of one filling.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #19
Continue to fill with a different type of sandwich in each layer.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #20
Right to the top of the loaf.
Surprise bread : Photo of step #21
Then add the lid, and refrigerate for a few hours.

Remove and leave at room temperature one hour before serving, so that the sandwiches are not too cold (or they will have less flavour).
Surprise bread : Photo of step #22


For the bread you can use any kind you like, it's a matter of taste. Personally I prefer leavened bread or even better mixed seed bread (as in the photos), but you can also use sandwich bread, in which case replace 400g white flour with 100g rye flour + 300g whole-wheat flour.

For the fillings, you can vary ad infinitum. In this recipe there are 6 layers with 3 differents fillings, but it would be more interesting to have a different filling in each layer. Here are some more ideas:
  • A little cream cheese, pepper, salt and a very large handful of freshly chopped fresh herbs
  • Tuna rillettes
  • Hoummous
  • Taztikis
  • Roquefort mixed with a little butter and a few walnuts
  • Etc...

An idea to try: surprise bread with sweet fillings, for a children's party for example, with jams, honey, chocolate...

In this recipe each layer of the sandwiches is cut into 8, but if it's for an aperitif, it's wiser to cut them into 10 or 12 to makes smaller sandwiches, and avoid filling up your guests before the meal.p>If you'd like more information about making your own bread, look at this dedicated page.


Home made

Last modified on: October 13th 2010

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