This is perfect for a tailgate party (what I made it for) and with the super bowl just around the corner...(how 'bout dem Boys y'all?)
For those of you that aren't football fans (for shame!), this is perfect for any party, I sometimes make it on lazy sundays too, because there is nothing wrong with freshly baked bread and cheesey dip on a lazy sunday! I will also point out that you can use any of your favorite dips in the center if spinach artichoke isn't your favorite.
I make this in my cast iron pan, if you don't have one *gasps* I would suggest you fix that immediately! I question whether the bread would cook right in another kind of pan, but if some non-cast-iron-pan-owner wants to get adventurous and give it a try, I'm curious to know..
Step 1: Assemble Your Ingredients...
...which I apparently failed to take a complete picture of at the time i was making this sooo.. i just ran into my kitchen and took a mock-up pic of the bread ingredients...my apologies. To be honest though, there is nothing unusual in the ingredients that most of us haven't seen, so I'll trust you can get by without the complete pic.
FOR THE BREAD:
2 3/4-3 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR (bread liquid/dry ratios vary according to altitude humidity etc. so always start with the lower amount and add more if needed)
2 1/2 TSP YEAST (1 packet)
1 TSP SALT (best to use fine salt in recipes like this)
! CUP WARM (not hot) MILK
2 TBSP MELTED BUTTER (salted)
FOR THE DIP:
SPINACH ( about 4 cups fresh= about 1/2 box frozen= pouch of frozen)
1 14 OZ CAN OF SEASONED ARTICHOKE HEARTS (its ok if you cant find seasoned, you can just adjust your seasonings to compensate)
4 OZ CREAM CHEESE (1/2 block)
1/2 C SOUR CREAM
1/4 CUP MAYO
2 CLOVES GARLIC (or more depending on personal preference- i like more- I use at least 3)
1 TSP SRIRACHA (or other hot sauce if you prefer)
1/2 CUP MOZZARELLA (grated)
1/4 CUP FRESH PARMESAN (also grated)
FOR THE TOP:
1/4 CUP GRATED COLBY JACK (honestly you could use any cheese you prefer here, i just wanted the added color)
now lets get down to business!
Step 2: Its Time to Bake the Bread!
I put my milk and butter together and warmed them in the microwave in 20 second increments , and then sprinkled my yeast on top.
You want the milk warm not hot, or your yeast wont activate. There is all kinds of sciencey stuff about this (what you're mixing it with etc) but i think about 115-120 degrees is a pretty all purpose temp.. at 130 degrees your yeast will die. you can use any method you want to heat your milk and melt the butter, just make sure that when you sprinkle the yeast on top its in that 120 temp range. you can tell if your yeast activates, because it becomes thick and foamy.
while waiting for activation.. i mixed my flour and salt together with a whisk, once the yeast is activated.. pour the milk in and mix the dough together until its sticks .. then get your hands dirty.. go ahead..it feels good. knead it until u have a smooth ball. set the kneaded dough in a bowl coated with oil, cover the bowl with a towel or greased saran wrap, and put it in a warm place (I turn my oven on to 'warm' while i make bread doughs, then turn it back to off when i put the dough in to rise)
Step 3: Now Lets Get This Party Started...
its best if your cream cheese is softened.. I always forget this.. so I end up cutting it into small chunks as shown while i make the bread dough, and that allows it time to get soft.
Mince your garlic, add to the cream cheese.
stir in mayo and sour cream
add sriracha parm and mozzarella
now.. a few notes on the spinach.. you want this to be drained.. so if you are using a box of frozen spinach , defrost it in the microwave and squeeze out all the water. My store sells pouches of frozen spinach that have very little water in them so i add it directly. if using fresh , you can just blanch it and then drain and chop.
add your drained spinach
coarsely chop your artichokes and remove any tough parts add them to your dip..
stir everything together and mmmm...
set this aside.
Step 4: The Fun Part! (aka Lets Get Our Hands Dirty Again!)
turn your dough out onto a lightly floured board, and divide into 16 pieces.
I do this with a knife ,cut the whole thing in half (2), then the halves in half (4) etc..U will notice this yields roughly square shapes, pinch the points under as shown to make a rounder shape.
grease your cast iron skillet well with butter, and find a 'mold' for the center (i used a small glass mixing bowl) grease the sides of this too. set your mold in the center, and start arranging your dough balls around it. Once you have all the dough in the pan, gently remove your mold..
Step 5: Fill 'er Up!
Spoon your dip into the center, push it up tight to the bread..sprinkle a tad of cheese on top (reserve some still!) and bake on center shelf in preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. you will know its done when the bread is golden and sounds hollow when u tap on it. now sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the bread and broil it for 2 minutes until its all melted and delicious..
I promise you , you wont have leftovers.
Step 6: Oh Yea.. Forgot the Shameless Pandering
If you like my instructable please vote for it in the "baking" contest. thanks!