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Merlot Bread with Salami and Smoked Mozzarella

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I was so excited when I saw this Red Wine Bread on the June calendar the Bread Baking Babes and Friends because not only do I love baking bread (it’s my favorite thing to make in my kitchen), it also looked like an awesome arts and craft project! It was calling my name in a serious way!

I’ve never added wine to a yeast bread before, and now I’m not quite sure what took me so long. It’s actually the same thing as adding any other warm liquid to yeast bread ingredients, and once I got past the weird purple color of the dough, I was excited to see how my grape cluster would turn out.

I chose a cheaply priced Merlot for my red wine of choice because after reading some of the other Babe’s posts, they reported that the actual flavor of the wine couldn’t really be tasted in the final product. In my opinion, what the wine did do was highlight and compliment the yeasty flavor of the bread and also gave it a certain depth flavor that, if you didn’t know wine was added, you most likely wouldn’t be able to put your finger on what that ingredient was.

And, what goes better than wine than salami and cheese (other than a picnic blanket and thou)? So I decided to add some diced smoked mozzarella cheese along with the called for diced salami into my dough, making it look even more wacky than the original purple colored dough I’d started with. It kind of felt a little like Dr.Seuss was cooking in my kitchen with me. LOL See what I mean?

This bread takes 3 separate proofing times, due to the wine slowing down the rise time of the yeast, so plan accordingly if you’re going to make this recipe and plan on about 4-5 hours from start to finish. I do recommend making this bread because the presentation is quite impressive, the flavor is smokey and deeply unusual, and the crust is chewy with a nice bite.

Yield – 1 large grape cluster      Prep Time: 3 1/2 hours        Bake Time: 50-60 minutes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4 cups red wine (I used Merlot), warmed to about 90-100 degrees F
1 1/2 cups salami, cubed into 1/4″ cubes
1 1/2 cups smoked mozzarella, cubed into 1/4″ cubes
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water

-In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.
-In a small bowl, warm the wine in the microwave, being careful not to make it too hot.
-Stir the honey into the wine and pour the wine mixture into the flour.
-Use the dough hook to slowly knead the wine into the flour until it’s totally incorporated. Continue to knead until the dough is somewhat smooth and elastic.
-Add the cubed salami and cheese into the dough and knead until the meat and cheese are evenly combined into the dough. *Note – It won’t all incorporate until you turn the dough out on the counter and knead it by hand.
-Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead by hand for about 3-5 minutes.
-Return the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free place for it’s first rise (approximately 1 hour).
-After the first rise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand again for about 3-5 minutes.
-Return the dough back to the bowl, cover and allow to rest again for approximately 1 hour.
-Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead by hand again and then roll the dough out into an approximately 12″ x 8″ rectangle.
-Cut the dough (use a pizza cutter or bench scraper) into strips and then again into different sized pieces which you’ll use to form the grapes. *Note – these do not have to be exact sized pieces because grapes are never exact.
-Form each piece of dough into a ball, making sure to wipe off the additional flour before rolling.
-Place the dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and start forming your grape cluster making sure to narrow your cluster as you go along and making sure they touch slightly.
-To add depth, add some smaller grapes on top of the larger ones if desired.
-Roll a final piece of dough out into a rope and fashion it to the top of the cluster to resemble a stem.
-Once completed, allow the loaf to rest again for it’s final rise, approximately 50-60 minutes in a warm, draft free place.
-Lightly brush the loaf  entirely with the lightly beaten egg and water to insure the grapes stick together and to give it great color as it bakes.
-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake the loaf for 15 minutes.
-Reduce the head to 400 degrees and continue baking for 45 minutes (or until the loaf sounds hallow when tapped).
-Cool completely before transferring your grapes to a serving platter.

And I know you’re all dying to know what the bread looks like in center once baked and after all this, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint…

Surprised? I know I was. LOL

The Bread Baking Babes (current dozen) are:

The Bread Baking Buddies are: YOU! 

So which Babe is the hosting kitchen this month?  That would be Tanna at My Kitchen in Half Cups, if you’d like to join in, simply make Beaujolais Bread (yes, you may adapt) – and then send Tanna your link (info in her announcement post).  Submissions are due by June 29th.  Once you’ve posted, you’ll receive a Buddy badge for baking along.  I hope you’ll join us this month! – See more at:

And now, speaking of grapes….

Textured Grapes Painted Wine Glass via
If there is ever anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my shop which is located within the navigation bar. Custom orders are always welcome and I can work from any photo or description you send my way.

Kudos Kitchen by Renée ~ Where food, art and fun collide on a regular basis!

I’ve submitted this post to YeastSpotting for their consideration.

Until we eat again,

Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

Saturday 5th of July 2014

This is crazy amazing! And, I will be making it for our next party!

Angela {Mind Over Batter}

Friday 4th of July 2014

THIS IS AWESOME! Oh, man... I can't even imagine what your house must have smelled like as this bread baked! I love the crumb, love the flavors. Gosh, these are the times I wish there was smell-o-vison. This future sucks.


Friday 4th of July 2014

Totally wonderful ... the shape, the crumb! Perfect picnic party bread. I love your "what goes better than wine than salami and cheese (other than a picnic blanket and thou? Perhaps we should all bake with Dr. Seuss more often;-) Thanks so very much for baking with us again.

Souffle Bombay

Thursday 3rd of July 2014

I have never seen anything like this - cool!


Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Absolutely beautiful presentation! I love this