Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sundried Tomato Bread

Finishing up the army has left a gaping hole in both my heart and my schedule, making it possible to just be for a little while before I find a job. It also means that I get to tie up some loose ends here and there and one of those things is this blog. This website has seen nothing but neglect and sporadic posting this past year and a half and I hope that that will change somewhat now that I'm no longer a soldier. (How it hurts to write those words!!!!) In any case, let's talk about bread. One of my favorite things to eat these days is sundried tomatoes. I used to hate them but now consume them with a passion and have taken to putting them in everything. I've long wanted to bake them into a bread and a while ago, I did just that. I chose a white bread recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads and took it from there. This recipe started as the Feather Bread but I swapped out the 1/3 cup of butter or shortening with the sundried tomato oil and kneaded in some chopped sundried tomatoes. Yum. At first, the dough resisted the tomatoes, but some stubborn kneading solved that problem. I formed these into two long loaves and slashed them before baking. I might have also
baked them on the pizza stone cause why not? but it's not necessary. The breads came out fragrant and delicious and exactly how I'd imagined them to be. Now, if I could just get my hands on some more sundried tomatoes...
Sundried Tomato Bread
Adapted from Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

4-4 1/2 cups bread or all purpose flour
Scant tbsp instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1/3 cup oil from the sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 cups hot water
Chopped sundried tomatoes, I didn't measure

Place all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the oil on top followed by the water, adding just enough to moisten all the flour. Mix to make a shaggy dough and let rest. Begin kneading until the dough takes on a smooth, elastic consistency. If it resists, allow the dough to rest before resuming. To incorporate the tomatoes, flatten out your ball of dough into somewhat of a square shape. Sprinkle some of the tomatoes over the dough and fold one third of the dough to cover the tomatoes. Sprinkle on more tomatoes and fold over the other third to cover. (You're pretty much doing letter folds as you would with artisan bread or puff pastry.) If there are any leftover tomatoes, repeat the process. Resume kneading to evenly disperse the tomatoes. When you're finished, place the dough in a bowl, grease the top and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.
Gently deflate the dough and divide into two equal pieces.
Shape each piece of dough into a long batard shape and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Allow the loaves to proof until doubled. While they are proofing, preheat the oven to 420 degrees.

Quickly and swiftly slash the breads and place them in the hot oven.
Bake until the breads are golden and until a thermometer inserted into the breads reads at least 190 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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