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|Yield:||8 to 10 servings|
1) To make the bread: Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2) Combine all of the bread ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
3) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes, until it's become puffy. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
4) Bake the bread until it's golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
5) To make the meatloaf: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Get out a 9" x 13" pan; it doesn't need to be greased.
6) Gently mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
7) Pat the mixture into the pan.
8) Bake the meatloaf for about 25 minutes, or until it's thoroughly cooked; it should register at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat in the middle of the pan.
9) Remove the meatloaf from the oven, and drain it of all fat and juices. Allow it to cool slightly in the pan, then refrigerate it, still in the pan.
10) If you plan on adding bacon to the sandwich (a good plan, for sure!), here's an easy way to prepare it. Lay it in a single layer in a large, rimmed baking sheet (such as a half-sheet pan). Bake it along with the meatloaf; the bacon should be brown and starting to crisp in about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, drain the fat, and place the bacon on paper towels to continue draining. Refrigerate until ready to use.
11) To assemble the sandwich: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.
12) Cut the bread in half around its perimeter, to make two large (9" x 13") slices: a top, and a bottom.
13) Lay one slice, bottom side (brown side) up, onto a clean work surface.
14) Lay the meatloaf atop the bread, trimming any bread overlap.
15) Top with ketchup; then the crumbled or diced cooked bacon; then the cheese; then the remaining slice of bread, brown side down (white side up).
16) Brush the top of the bread with olive oil or melted butter (or melted garlic butter), if desired.
17) Place a clean baking sheet atop the sandwich, and weigh it down with something heat-proof and heavy (e.g., a cast iron skillet). This will press the sandwich together as it bakes, for a panini/grilled effect.
18) Bake the sandwich for about 20 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until it's starting to brown, and the filling is hot.
19) Remove the sandwich from the oven, and transfer it to a cutting board or other secure surface. Let it rest for about 10 minutes; then cut it into squares, and serve.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.