Reuben Melt

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Reuben Melt

star rating (4) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

St. Patrick’s Day traditionally calls for a celebratory dinner of corned beef and cabbage, but cooked in a simmering water bath isn’t the only way to combine those two ingredients: the Reuben sandwich pairs corned beef and cabbage in a more intricate way. This particular sandwich has a storied (and disputed) history, with two different Reubens claiming it as their own. Arnold Reuben, of Reuben’s restaurant in New York City, was said to have invented the sandwich on a whim in 1914, for a famished leading lady of Charlie Chaplin’s. Another story has it that Reuben Kay of Omaha invented the sandwich at a poker game in 1955, then saw it attain national fame when it was entered in the National Sandwich Contest the following year, where it took the top prize. However it happened, the Reuben Sandwich--a delectable combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on pumpernickel--has been a deli staple for years.

The following variation on the Reuben is an easy way to serve a number of family members or friends at once. Since a fair number of people seem to eschew sauerkraut, our version of the Reuben substitutes coleslaw in its place. If you like sauerkraut, by all means use it; just be sure to drain it well.

Dough
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) Mellow Pastry Blend OR 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) pumpernickel
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons (1 ounce) King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver*
3 tablespoons (1 ounce) potato flour OR 1/4 cup dried potato flakes
1 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor*
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) water

*Both of these ingredients are optional, but recommended. The dough relaxer makes the dough extremely easy to roll out and handle, while the rye flavor adds a lot to the flavor of the bread.

Filling
1/2 pound thinly sliced corned beef
4 to 6 ounces (1 to 1 1/2 cups) coleslaw, very well drained
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups) shredded Swiss cheese

Combine the dough ingredients--by hand, mixer, food processor, or bread machine--and mix and knead till you’ve created a smooth, fairly soft dough. You should find this dough fairly easy to work with, if you’ve used the dough relaxer; it’ll feel very supple in your hands. Allow the dough to rise, covered, in a lightly greased bowl, or in your bread machine bucket, for about 1 hour; it should get quite puffy.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Gently pat it into a rough rectangle, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle. It’ll roll out very easily, if you’ve used both the Mellow Pastry Blend and the dough relaxer; if you’ve used neither, expect some resistance. If the dough does keep shrinking back, just cover it with a damp towel for about 10 minutes, then come back and give it another go.

Layer the thinly sliced corned beef atop the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin clear on all sides. Spread the corned beef evenly with the coleslaw, then the cheese. Fold the two long edges over the filling; this will help keep it from leaking out as it bakes.

Starting with a short edge, gently (and fairly loosely) roll the dough into a nice, fat 10-inch log, about 3 inches in diameter. Place the log on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover it with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the roll for about 35 to 45 minutes, till it’s a light, golden brown; if it appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes of baking. Remove the loaf from the oven, and allow it to cool on the pan for 15 minutes. Slice it into 1 1/2-inch slices. Serve with Thousand Island or Russian dressing, if desired. Yield: about 8 servings.

Notes
It’s almost inevitable that the roll will split somewhere as it’s baking, and a bit of the filling will ooze out. This is a good thing; it allows you, the baker, to nab a furtive fingerful of melted cheese while everyone else is waiting to eat!

This roll goes into the oven as a fairly nice round, then flattens as it bakes. The slices you eventually cut and serve will be ovals, not rounds.

A couple of the taste-testers here thought the center of the slices cut from the very center of the roll were a bit doughy. If “doughy” is anathema to you, Sue suggests dry-frying the corned beef briefly, to help it exude any ambient moisture. Also, be very sure your coleslaw or sauerkraut is well-drained.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 02/14/2013
  • from
  • I made this bread for a potluck brunch and got rave reviews! I made a few changes to add some whole wheat flour and use some ingredients that I had. For the dough, I used 1 c. KA AP flour, 1/2 c. WW pastry flour, and 2/3 c. KA White WW flour in place of 2 1/2 c. Mellow Pastry Blend. I also subbed KA Rye Bread Improver (used ~ 2 tsp.) for the KA Easy-Roll Dough Improver and the Deli Rye Flavor. Lastly, I used vegetable oil to replace 1/3 of the butter (4 tsp.) I used pastrami rather than corned beef because that's what I was able to get at the deli. I also used sauerkraut in place of coleslaw. This option was hinted at in the final comment in the notes section of the recipe and seemed more in line with Reubens that I've had. I served the loaf with Thousand Island dressing, and enjoyed!
  • star rating 02/14/2013
  • from
  • I made this bread for a potluck brunch and got rave reviews! I made a few changes to add some whole wheat flour and use some ingredients that I had. For the dough, I used 1 c. KA AP flour, 1/2 c. WW pastry flour, and 2/3 c. KA White WW flour in place of 2 1/2 c. Mellow Pastry Blend. I also subbed KA Rye Bread Improver (used ~ 2 tsp.) for the KA Easy-Roll Dough Improver and the Deli Rye Flavor. Lastly, I used vegetable oil to replace 1/3 of the butter (4 tsp.) I used pastrami rather than corned beef because that's what I was able to get at the deli. I also used sauerkraut in place of coleslaw. This option was hinted at in the final comment in the notes section of the recipe and seemed more in line with Reubens that I've had. I served the loaf with Thousand Island dressing, and enjoyed!
  • star rating 05/19/2011
  • pammyowl from KAF Community
  • Very good, and easy to make! I will try to make individual servings next. I did not use the dough relaxer, and had no trouble at all rolling out the dough.This is good cold, so it is perfect for lunches or picnics!
  • star rating 12/29/2010
  • carmenw from KAF Community
  • I made this as a special surprise for my step-father for Christmas. I was so excited and 4 days later still get all happy when I think of how it turned out. It was incredible. It took more time to cook then what was stated, but it was huge so that didnt surprise me. I can not tell you how good it was. It was simple out of this world. The outside was crispy , while the inside was soft and yummy. I was especially happy with the oozing ends (which I got to keep for myself, since I was the one making it). Thank you soooo much for this recipe. What is funny to me is I made this the first time and it was great, I am stilling having trouble with making the soft rolls. I will get them too. Thanks again.
1