Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomato Basil Bread

My husband and I frequently eat at the chain restaurant Panera Bread.  They have pretty good food for your money and it is relatively quick to eat there without the greasy cheeseburgers.  I typically have their turkey sandwich on tomato basil bread.  It is a soft bread with a nice crust.  The tomato and basil flavors are there but subtle.  I decided that it should be a fairly simple recipe to try and recreate at home.

For my base recipe, I chose Peter Reinhart's White Bread Variation 1 out of his book The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  It was purported to be a soft bread, ideal for sandwiches.  Exactly what I was looking for.  Also, it used powdered milk and water to tenderize the bread rather than liquid milk, so I could easily substitute tomato juice for water.  I chose to use V8 as my tomato flavor, because it is a bit thicker than plain tomato juice and it happened to be what I had on hand.  I was also able to use fresh basil from my tiny herb garden on my deck.  Because the V8 was thicker than water, I did need to use more of V8 than the recipe called for.

The bread turned out to be a nice soft yet sturdy sandwich kind of bread.  My husband said it tasted like tomato soup in bread form.  I think that it will make quite delicious grilled cheese.

Tomato Basil Bread  loosely adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

22.5 oz bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/4 cup nonfat instant milk
3T and 1/4 tsp sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 cups low sodium V8
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped up

Mix together dry ingredients.  Pour in wet ingredients and mix together.  Knead for 6-8 minutes or until dough passes the windowpane test.  Dough at this point is quite wet.  Allow to raise for 1 hour.  Turn out onto well floured board and knead by had 2-3 minutes.  Shape into loaves and allow to raise for another hour or so.

Egg wash if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees until done. (Approximately 30-40 minutes)

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