The first Sunday we attended the Mooresburg Presbyterian Church, there was a delicious fellowship brunch after the church service, and for some reason I had the impression that they did this every Sunday. I was enamored with the idea of breaking bread together on a regular basis, and the next week I prepared food to contribute, and since we live a little over a mile away, I kept it at home, intending to go back to the house and get it.
A good thing, because come to find out, it was only the last Sunday of the month that they hosted the fellowship brunch. One of the few times that I prevented showing my ignorance of people and their customs, we shared them with our son and his family, and we breakfasted on minis for the rest of the week – they were wonderful wrapped in a paper towel and warmed in the microwave for 25 seconds.
In any case, we continue to attend the church. We grew to love the pastor and his wife; we enjoy the people who are welcoming and friendly. While we both agreed that if we ever join a church, it would certainly be this one, in the end, we decided to hold on to our autonomy as non-denominational Christians and be friends of the church. This, thankfully, did not seem to pose a problem to the majority, and we continue to enjoy fellowship (and the fellowship brunches) at Mooresburg Presbyterian. It took me a while to get used to their style since I was raised Pentecostal. There are times I want to clap my hands and throw my arms up in the air and wave them around, but I save that for my private devotions! I joined the choir and help out with Vacation Bible School, and I like to think that this approach is helping me to develop a healthier and more realistic approach to Christianity.
I love to make bread and any recipe that involves dough is always a joy for me to make. So I have cultivated the habit of taking what I call, Egg Sausage and Cheese Minis as our contribution to the brunch. (My friend Beckie Bourbeau calls them sliders, which is also a cool name.) The Presbyterians seem to enjoy them as much as I like making them, so I would be loath to take anything else. I have been asked on a number of occasions for the recipe, so I thought I would include it on my blog.
Sausage Egg & Cheese Minis
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
Mix 3 cups of the flour, and the rest of the above ingredients together, then add at the same time:
1 ½ – 2 T. oil (I use olive oil)
1 cup warm water
Add the warm water and oil liquid to the dry ingredients and mix together. You can do this by using your hands (well-greased) or a food processor or a dough hook of a mixer. I use a food processor and pour the water into the processor slowly while the machine is on.
The dough should eventually form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. When this happens, gather the dough together and place on a floured surface. (Use the other ½ cup of flour to flour your surface and hands). Knead the dough by hand for several minutes until smooth and a bit shiny. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a piece of plastic and a damp t-towel. Place it in a warm (not hot) place. Let it rise until nearly double in size. Then punch it down and let it rise again.
If you are making more than one batch of dough, make only one batch at a time. For multiple batches, I use oiled gallon-size zip-lock bags and put my dough in there to either freeze for later use or to let rise. This way it is easier to punch it down and let it rise for the second time.
For the filling:
1 pound of loose sausage
1 pound of shredded mild cheddar cheese
Six large eggs
Fry sausage in a lightly greased pan over medium heat. Break the sausage up into little pieces. The sausage will make its own grease. You can choose to let this in or drain it. I usually let at least a little bit of the fat in because it adds flavor. After the sausage is no longer pink (but not brown) add six eggs and scramble lightly. Do not cook the eggs completely. While they are still a bit moist, add the cheese and incorporate it thoroughly throughout the mixture. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and grease and lightly flour.
When your dough has risen for the second time, divide it into 16 equal size pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface and add a generous spoon of the meat and egg and cheese mixture to the middle. Then gather up the sides of the dough like a money bag and twist. Or you can roll the dough up like a pinwheel. Whatever works for you. Just make sure the dough is sealed so that the filling cannot get out during the baking. Put the seam side down on the parchment paper. When all the pieces of dough are filled and ready to bake, prick the top of each mini with a fork and spray lightly with oil or rub a little butter or oil on the top of each one. Cover with plastic wrap and a warm, damp towel and let rise again for about 10 minutes. Take off the plastic wrap and the towel and place in the warm oven. Bake for about 12 minutes or until tops are golden brown and have a hollow sound when you tap the top.
I usually make up several batches of dough ahead of time and keep them in the freezer. I get them out the night before I need the dough and let them thaw in the zip lock bags over night in some dark and slightly warm place. For the church fellowship, I use two batches of dough and double the meat and egg and cheese mixture.
I also use this dough for dinner rolls, pizza, sticky buns, and all sorts of other applications. It’s fun and easy, and I use whatever is on hand for the filling.