A classic New Orleans sandwich full of deli meats, cheese and a tangy olive spread.
1. FOR THE BREAD: combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour, salt and shortening to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. When the yeast is foamy and 10 minutes have passed, pour the yeast mixture on top and mix on low speed until an elastic dough forms. The dough should be smooth and satiny.
3. Oil a bowl and place dough in it. Toss to coat, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
4. Lightly flour a work space and turn out the dough, punching it down. Form into a 10-inch round loaf and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and press them into the dough.
5. Allow to rise again for 1 hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bread on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 and continue baking for 25 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Slice in half.
8. FOR THE OLIVE SALAD: Dice up the olives and giardinera. Toss in a bowl with the fresh herbs and just enough olive oil to keep it coated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
9. FOR THE SANDWICH: Remove any excess bread from the center of a sandwich on the top and bottom half of the loaves to create a spot to fill with the olive salad.
10. Layer the provolone cheese on the bottom of the sandwich. Follow with the genoa salami, the ham and the mortadella. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Place the top half of the loaf filled with the olive spread on top.
11. Slide a piece of wax paper underneath the sandwich and wrap it up. Press a cutting board or other medium-weight item on top of the sandwich. Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes for the bread to absorb the olive mixture.
12. Cut into wedges and serve. Optional: sandwich can be toasted at 350 for 15-20 minutes to melt the cheeses and warm up the deli meats if desired.
If you are making the muffaletta bread, make it first as it has two rises before it can be baked.
Keywords: muffaletta, new orleans, sandwich