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.
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.
- 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.