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.
After two hours, when the dough is well risen, bake a little longer than a normal loaf.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
If you succeed and manage this, what follows is only sandwiches!
Cut the block of bread in half vertically.
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:
For smoked ham: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and butter one of each pair.
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 ).
Put the top slices on the sandwiches.
And cut each one into 4.
For smoked salmon: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, squeeze lime juice one slice of each pair, and butter the other.
On the butter put a slice of smoked salmon, trim off any extra, and complete the sandwiches, then cut into 4.
For chicken mayonnaise: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and spread mayonnaise over each one.
Arrange small pieces of cooked chicken on half, complete the sandwiches, and cut into 4.
Begin the assembly of the surprise bread by making a layer of 8 sandwiches of one filling.
Continue to fill with a different type of sandwich in each layer.
Right to the top of the loaf.
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).
Remarks: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
- Roquefort mixed with a little butter and a few walnuts
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.
Last modified on: October 13th 2010