This muffuletta sandwich bread recipe is essential if you’re making the Creole classic outside of New Orleans. New Orleans is a truly unique city, boasting a vibrant culture. Creole food is a tasty education in the history of New Orleans because it combines ingredients and flavors from all over the world.
The food of the Crescent City is a beautiful mixture of African, Spanish, French, and Italian influences. Jambalaya is the Creole answer to Paella, revealing a history of Spanish reign. Gumbo highlights the west African roots of slaves who were brought over on the Mississippi. Muffulettas combine the briny olives and deli meats of Italy with bread and spices of NOLA. When I cook Creole food at home, I’m honoring the history of one of my favorite cities and educating my guests about this amazing town.
I’ve been yearning to recreate an authentic Muffuletta since my first taste of the delicious sandwich at Napoleon House. Searching high and low for the large soft sandwich bread, covered with sesame seeds I quickly realized that muffuletta bread outside of NOLA is almost impossible to find. Unwilling to settle for anything short of the good stuff, I decided to bake it myself. I’m so excited to share with you my recipe for authentic New Orleans style muffuletta bread!
This recipe is a combination of the techniques I use for challah and brioche. Once baked, you’ll have a slightly sweet enriched bread with the body to stand up to olive tapenade and a slew of Italian deli meats. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my loved ones do.
As they say in the Big Easy, “laissez les bons temps rouler”!
Muffuletta fixings suggestions (amounts per your liking):
olive tapenade (I use the tapenade from Trader Joe’s)
Mortadella sliced meat
smoked turkey slices
smoked ham slices
provolone cheese slices
olive oil and red wine vinegar to drizzle over the bread if desired
Place milk in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until steam rises from the surface of the milk but it does not boil. Allow the milk to cool slightly and register 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.
Combine warm milk, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with the hook attachment in place.
Mix and allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
Add eggs and oil to the yeast, mix with on low to combine, 10 seconds.
Add 3 cups of flour to the egg mixture, with the hook attachment in place, gently run the stand mixer on low until the flour and eggs are starting to combine.
Add 1 more cup of flour and salt and continue to knead the dough in the mixer with the hook attached. As the flour gets incorporated with the eggs you can increase the speed of the mixer to medium or medium high. If the dough is too wet, add 1-1 ½ cups more flour a little at a time.
With the mixer running on medium, add the butter to the dough a little at a time. Let the butter incorporate into the dough before each addition.
Continue to mix until the butter is well incorporated, the dough forms a ball, and looks smooth and elastic. When pressed, the fully kneaded dough should spring back.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl, greased with canola oil. Turn the dough inside the bowl until covered with oil.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 90 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the bread, prepare the egg wash, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a large mound, about 8 inches in diameter.
Place the mounded dough in the center of the lined baking sheet.
Brush the egg wash over the entire top of the dough. Let the dough rise again for 30 minutes at room temperature.
When the dough has completed its second rise, brush the top again with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and sides of the bread.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the top of the bread is golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers 190 degrees when inserted in the center, about 30-40 minutes.
Let the bread cool completely at room temperature. Slice the bread in half horizontally and fill with muffuletta fixings.
Wrap the entire sandwich with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Cut the sandwich into wedges and enjoy!
I intentionally left the fixings suggestions vague so you can customize your sandwich to your tastes and what’s available at your local grocer. Get creative and enjoy!