Friday, January 29, 2010

Jalapeño, Sausage and Egg Breakfast Braid

I know it seems like we just did an egg-y pizza, but I just had to try out this Jalapeño, Sausage and Egg Breakfast Braid when I came across it in a recent magazine. It's a pretty lengthy title, even though I shortened it slightly with some nominal changes to the ingredients, but it certainly lets you know what's all inside this wrapped package!

It originally called for a can of pizza dough, but when you can whip up a whole-wheat version in a snap like we do with our homemade dough, why not go that route? I did go with the pound version this time, just to ensure we would have plenty of dough to work with. Once it had been buzzed through the food processor and given a chance to rest, we scooted the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and gave it a few quick stretches to create a large rectangle.

Working with the dough first, rather than getting the filling ingredients prepared, gave it a few minutes to relax and begin to puff slightly, making for a blank slate that's a dream to work with. Just be sure to cover the rectangle with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. To stuff this braided loaf, our attention was then tuned to chopping up an onion and a quarter-pound link of lean chicken sausage (the kind that's cooked, not raw). Use your favorite flavored link - we went with an andouille version that had a peppery, smoky bite. Because Jeff isn't the biggest fan of any raw pepper, I did throw in the seeded jalapeñoes at this point, but if you'd like to make this and that is not a concern, hold them back for now.

When the chunky sausage cubes had browned, it was time to stir in the eggs - however, since I bulked up the amount of pizza dough slightly, I figured it could stand more filling. There were to be two large eggs scrambled, but I whisked in a couple extra egg whites that I had sitting in the refrigerator (they were going into breakfast tomorrow morning... but I'm sure we'll manage!). Just like in that other pizza, keep the curds on the loose side as they will get more action in the oven.

To get all of the filling ingredients neatly on the dough and help give you a clean braid, imagine a skinny rectangle smack dab in the middle when you start to assemble - I used the back of the knife to lightly draw a box right onto the dough using the dimensions listed. Inside the box I drew went a shredded bed of Monterey Jack, followed by the lightly cooled scrambled egg mixture and another cheesy dose in the form of sharp white cheddar. If you do decide on using raw jalapeñoes as mentioned above, adorn the tiny pieces on top of the cheddar now instead of adding them earlier. The process of branding the dough is actually much easier than you might expect, as all you are doing is cutting strips on both sides, just short of the filling, then pulling them over to the other side (not a "true" braid per se).

A pizza wheel works well to cut the strips, but a pair of kitchen scissors or even a knife would do the trick. Once the braid is complete, the loaf is brushed with a beaten egg white and baked until the outside takes on a glorious golden hue and the cheese inside has melted. I have to say I loved how well this sliced - everything was contained and nothing fell out even after being cut and allow to sit for a few minutes. The sausage and egg was a dynamic combo, especially with the gooey jack and cheddar, while the peppers injected just enough heat to keep our taste buds hopping. Don't take that to mean this was really spicy - it was more of a controlled, mellow heat that wasn't too much if you were serving this in the morning. However, being controlled, one could easily amp up the heat by leaving a few seeds in the peppers or dosing the eggs with a few flakes of crushed red pepper.


  1. This is gorgeous. Being from New York, I haven't quite figured out how to put the southwestern twist on my cooking since moving to Texas, but I love the idea of adding the jalapeno to this.

  2. This is one grand filled bread!! Waw!!

    A must try,...real soon,...:)!!

  3. hey Joe - I pulled this recipe out of the magazine too. Glad to hear that the whole wheat pizza dough worked well since that's what I was planning too! Thanks to you, it's the only crust we use in this house!

  4. AJ - Thanks for stoppin' by! Love your site!

    Sophie - Thanks!

    Terri - Did you end up making it?

  5. I saw this in the same magazine, I was curious how it would turn out. Sounds delicious!! Glad it was a success.