It’s an interesting thing trying to pin down a recipe in our extended family. Nothing is ever really measured and, at least with our Italian bloodline, consistency is not an issue. If it fails it still gets eaten, and there’s always next time.
I did quiz my extended family when we gathered for Cousin’s Baking Day, but it didn’t get me much closer to an actual recipe.
“How much olive oil?” I questioned Adrienne. “A lot,” she said. “Don’t be stingy with it.” (how do I translate that into tablespoons or cups?)
The matriarch of our group wasn’t much help either. Carol simply recounted this story which I think sums up how it goes when you have Sicilian blood coursing through your veins.
“My mother would start a pot of sauce in the morning and leave it simmering for the day. Tommy would probably taste it at some point, add a little something to it and leave it simmering. Eventually I’d get to it and do the same. With 6 siblings in the house by the time dinner arrived who knew exactly what was in it. You want a recipe?”
So here’s the best I can do with muiolatte. To be honest, I’m not even sure how to spell it; none of us are. We’ve done the best we can given my grandmother’s accent and her native slang. You can always just call it stuffed bread, but where’s the fun in that? If you end up in the kitchen with your hands in the bread bowl you might also try Garlic Knots (yum!) or my grandmother’s cookies.
My grandmother’s dough
(as scribed by my Aunt Florence, her youngest daughter)
3 cups flour
2 T. oil
1 T. honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
Combine yeast and warm water; set aside. Start with 1 1/2 cups flour. Add oil, honey, and salt; mix. Add yeast and water mixture; stir and gradually add remaining flour (may take slight more than 3 cups of flour.) Knead until mixture no longer sticks to side of the bowl. Oil bowl. Replace dough and cover; allow to rise 1 hour (punch down).
Filling, rolling, and baking….
The pictures will give you the best cues here as to how much to sprinkle on your dough. Note there’s a wide range of ages in these pictures. If they can do it, so can you. Take a leap of faith and find out what you’re really made of!
We generally use a combination of the following:
oil cured olives, cooked sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan (be sure you buy enough for snacking…) You can use whatever you like though. One of Darrell’s buddies (AKA Joey Bag-O-Donuts) traditionally fills his with cauliflower, broccoli, and cheese.
Divide dough into 4-5 pieces and roll each into a fairly thin rectangle (only about 1/8″ thick; close to pie crust thickness) sprinkle generously with your choice of toppings.
Starting on the long side, roll it up. Then starting at one end, roll it up again this time like a snail. Tuck in the tail then pinch to seal. Keep going. Change up your fillings if you like and put something on top (a piece of pepperoni or an olive to remind you what’s inside…..)
Let them rest (you’ll probably need a rest, too) at least 20 minutes, covered.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil the top of each muiolatte and bake until golden brown. Check to be sure the bottoms are browned. Give a thump test for doneness.
Let them cool at least 20 minutes. You can cut each one into wedges or slice them. Community sharing by pulling off pieces is not unheard of.
Above all else, have fun. Life should be this way. Remember that post I wrote about the game of Life. Who says we always need to play by the rules? We do the best we can, learn something along the way, and move on! Please comment in with your results. I’m hoping my cousins will chime in here, too! They may even contradict me! I’d LOVE to hear if your family (like mine) has trouble committing recipes to print! It can’t just be Italians who do this, can it?
Let’s gather around the bread bowl and make muiolattes sometime soon!