Rustic Sun Dried Tomato And Herb Loaf

Sun Dried Tomato Herb Loaf

I have a  confession to make – I bake on the  fly.  Sometimes  I just put  a  pinch of  this  and a  pinch of   that to make  fantastic  loaves  or  disastrous  dough balls. It happens  every so often – sometimes  there is a  method to the  madness  and   other times it is  just madness !  Makes  me  wish I were more  like Amedial Bedelia,  except  for  the  literal interpretation of  English  Lagrange. If you don’t  know  who  Amelia  is –  read some of the Peggy Parish’s  original  works. Though  these books are meant for  kids it  is  delightful for  anyone’s inner child . 

So,  what is  the  big  idea – you ask?  Well   it was  during   one of   winging it  episodes that   this  bread  was  first  made.   Now  I  make a rustic artisan loaf  pretty much once a  week.  These are  usually for  the  kids’ lunchboxes.  If  I don’t  change it  up  often chances  are  that I find  the lunch in the  thrash bin , except for  pepperoni pizza.   Hence  we  switch things  up  – either in the bread or  in the  fixings.

So here  it is – the flavorful ,  tangy , beautiful, and  rustic  “Sun-Dried  Tomato  And Herb Bread”. The  sun dried  tomatoes   have beautiful sweet  and  tangy flavors.  When sliced  you could see  the  beautiful  specs  and  lines of   red   through  out.   Using  sun dried  tomatoes  mean  that  you don’t  have  to  wait  for  fresh  produce  to bake a  batch of  this  bread. A bit  of  color  during  the  cold  days  of  winter is  always  welcome.

This is  a  rustic  free  form loaf. No  need  for  bread pans  and  the  such.  If  you have a  pizza  stone  heat in the oven   and  when ready to bake  slide  the loaf  right on top of  the  hot  stone.  I  just   use a  cookie  sheet  lined  with parchment paper.   It  still makes a  beautiful loaf.

Sun dried  tomatoes in oil  is  the  preferred  version in this  recipe. The  tomato  flavors  concentrated, but  not  dried  out  like a  prune.  You can  either  use   sun-dried  tomatoes  in   herb  oil  or  add  your own  pinch of  dried  herbs  in this  recipe.  And before I forget  this is a  diary and  egg  free  recipe.  But  trust  me  you aren’t  going  to miss  either in the  end  product. In summer  when  fresh tomatoes  are  in season  I make  another  tomato bread  with fresh tomato puree.

Making Sun dried Tomato Herb Loaf

The  bread  dough is  made  the   usual  way and  set aside to rise.  Drain the sun dried  tomatoes   from oil  and  chop into  small pieces.  Tomatoes  will be  oily, and  if  you were  using  ones  in herb oil  there  will be  extra herbs  as well. Don’t  worry about  it.  Mix  the   dried  herbs    with the  chopped  tomatoes  and  add  to the  risen  dough.  Knead in. It is  going  to  take  about  a  minute  of  careful  kneading  to  distribute  the  tomato pieces.   This  kneading process is important as  it  breaks  down some  of  the  tomatoes  and  creates   the  beautiful  red   streaks in the  loaf.

I make  these as  free  form  loaves, but  there is  nothing  stopping  you  from  placing  these in a loaf  pan.  Either   way , cover let it  rise  till almost  doubled  and  bake.  Once  cooled  slice  and  make  sandwiches  or  serve  with your  favorite  bowl of  soup.

 

Rustic Sun Dried Tomato Herb Loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 1 Loaf

Rustic Sun Dried Tomato Herb Loaf

Ingredients

Flour - 500 g (4 1/2 C) (Notes)
Water - 250 g ( 1C + A little extra)
Active Dry Yeas - 7 g, (2 1/4 Tsp or 1 Packet)
Sugar/Honey - 1 Tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp
Fine Sea Salt - 10 g (2 Tsp)
Sun Dried Tomatoes in oil - 1/4 C Chopped
Mixed dry herbs / Italian Seasoning - 1/2 Tbsp

Instructions

Warm about 50g or 1/4 C of water to 100°F , or just warm to touch. Mix in the honey / sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast is bubbly. If the yeast does not bloom and the solution does not turn frothy discard and start again.

Take the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Make a well in the center and pour the activated yeast solution along with the olive oil and half of the water. Knead everything together adding the remaining water as needed. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the sun dried tomatoes from oil. Chop into small pieces. Mix with the dry herbs.

Add the tomatoes to the risen dough and knead for 1 minute to distribute evenly. Form into a log and place on a baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Place one rack in the center and another right below it. Place a small metallic pan (cake tin/ half sheet pan/loaf pan etc.) in the lower rack.

Uncover the loaf and slash the top with a sharp blade (knife, craft cutters) and transfer to the oven. Add a cup of ice cubes into the pan placed on the lower rack. Reduce the temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until done.

When the bread is down it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Another way is to read the internal temperature - it should be 190°F (88°C) when cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let rest on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

Slice, divide into small batches , wrap in wax paper/ parchment paper and freeze in freezer bags.

Notes

  • The volume measurements are approximate. When not using a weighing scale pay close attention to how the dough feels as you knead.
  • Fresh Herbs can be substituted for dried. Use up to 2 Tbsp of coarsely chopped fresh herbs.

https://oventales.com/rustic-sun-dried-tomato-and-herb-loaf/

Notes

  • This  recipe  can easily be  turned into a  sourdough  version.  Use 200g or  about 1C of  sourdough starter and  reduce  the  flour by about 100 g ( about 1 C) and  water  by 100 g or  (a  little  less than 1/2 C) .
  • The  sourdough  version of  the  bread   takes  longer  to   rise –   double  to triple  the  amount of  time  taken  by the  active  dry yeast  under  the  same  conditions.
  • Up to  half of the  flour can  be  substituted  with  whole  wheat  flour   without  altering  the  recipe  much.  For  each cup of  whole  wheat  flour  being  substituted  add  about 3 to 4 tbsp more  water.

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