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.
687K 8 174 4.4
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Last modified on: December 27th 2020

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For 1 Surprise bread, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 1 Surprise bread 2 Surprises bread 3 Surprises bread
How long does it take?
Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingCookingStart to finish
1 hour 34 min.4 hours50 min.6 hours 24 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 10 min.
Surprise bread
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.

Stage 2 - 2 hours
Surprise bread
After two hours, when the dough is well risen, bake a little longer than a normal loaf.

Stage 3 - 50 min.
Surprise bread
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.

Stage 4 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
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.

Stage 5 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
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.

Stage 6 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
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.

Stage 7 - 10 min.
Surprise bread
Now comes the tricky moment: extracting the soft cylinder of bread intact from its ring of crust.

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...

Stage 8
Surprise bread
If you succeed and manage this, what follows is only sandwiches!

Stage 9 - 3 min.
Surprise bread
Cut the block of bread in half vertically.

Stage 10 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
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:

Stage 11 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
For smoked ham: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and butter one of each pair.

Stage 12 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
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 ).

Stage 13 - 1 min.
Surprise bread
Put the top slices on the sandwiches.

Stage 14 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
And cut each one into 4.

Stage 15 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
For smoked salmon: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, squeeze lime juice one slice of each pair, and butter the other.

Stage 16 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
On the butter put a slice of smoked salmon, trim off any extra, and complete the sandwiches, then cut into 4.

Stage 17 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
For chicken mayonnaise: prepare 3 pairs of ½ slices, and spread mayonnaise over each one.

Stage 18 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
Arrange small pieces of cooked chicken on half, complete the sandwiches, and cut into 4.

Stage 19 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
Begin the assembly of the surprise bread by making a layer of 8 sandwiches of one filling.

Stage 20 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
Continue to fill with a different type of sandwich in each layer.

Stage 21 - 5 min.
Surprise bread
Right to the top of the loaf.

Stage 22 - 2 hours
Surprise bread
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).
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.
Nutritional information
Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
4,134 Kcal or 17,308 Kj365 gr1,306 gr387 gr
207 %141 %123 %59 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
127 Kcal or 532 Kj11 gr40 gr12 gr
6 %4 %4 %2 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).
Possible allergens in this recipe: Gluten, Fish, Milk, Egg, Sulfites, Mustard, Celery
How much will it cost?
  • For 1 Surprise bread : 25.17 €

Change currency:

Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.
This recipe uses (among others)
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Your 8 comments or questions on this recipe
  • Just calculate the volume of your mould, or measure it using a weight scale while filling it with water, then compare with the volume of my circular one (227 inch cube), then adjust the weight of dough you will need (simple proportionality calculating).
    Posted by jh september 21th 2020 at 08:36 (n° 8)
  • But my main question is what amount of flour should I take for 7.9 inch square mold? If you can help me out I will be super happy! Thank you in advance!
    Posted by Anonymous september 20th 2020 at 18:02 (n° 7)
  • Mine is 7.9 inch square so height and width and depth is all are same.
    Posted by Anonymous september 20th 2020 at 17:57 (n° 6)
  • My mould is a circular one 8 diameter x 4.5 high => 227 inches cube, to compare with yours.
    Posted by jh september 20th 2020 at 17:38 (n° 5)
  • 7.9 x7.9 inches cube
    Posted by Anonymous september 20th 2020 at 15:47 (n° 4)
  • 7.9 what? cm? inches?
    Posted by jh september 20th 2020 at 13:58 (n° 3)
  • I have 7.9 x x7.9 cube pain surprise pain . Similar to the round pan you have used. Do I use the same quantity of dough?
    Posted by Anonymous september 20th 2020 at 12:33 (n° 2)
  • Really useful. Very clear! Just what I wanted to make a Pain Surprise for my daughter's wedding. She lived in the Vendee when young, and this was what she loved. Thankyou.
    Posted by Patricia june 18th 2016 at 20:56 (n° 1)
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