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  1. For the dough: Combine the dough ingredients, mixing until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth (about 10 minutes by hand, or 6 to 8 minutes at medium-low speed in a mixer). Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour, until puffy.

  2. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the corned beef on one half of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the drained sauerkraut on the other half. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the sauerkraut and rearranging the meat occasionally, until very dry. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

  3. To assemble: Pat the risen dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a 12" x 16" rectangle. Layer the cooled corned beef over the dough, leaving 1" uncovered on all sides. Sprinkle the baked sauerkraut over the meat, then the cheese.

  4. Fold the two long edges over the filling. Roll the dough up from the short edge to a 10"log, about 3" in diameter. Pinch the seam closed, then place, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

  5. When the dough is slightly puffy-looking, uncover and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until light golden brown. The bread should read 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer. Tent with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking if it’s browning too quickly.

  6. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 15 minutes before slicing.

  7. Store, well-wrapped, for 3 days in the fridge.

Tips from our Bakers

  • 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.

  • 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 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, dry-fry the corned beef briefly, to help it exude any ambient moisture. Also, be very sure your coleslaw or sauerkraut is well-drained.
  • Both the dough improver and the rye flavor are optional, but recommended. The dough improver makes the dough extremely easy to roll out and handle, while the rye flavor adds a lot to the flavor of the bread.