I made bread. I haven't made bread for a LONG time. Seriously long.
I no longer have a bread maker. We had one about 7 or 8 years ago and made several loaves. But that seemed like almost cheating.
This was fun. I got to knead it, roll it, punch it and watch it rise. Clearly I get amused easily. :-)
I actually ended up making 2 loaves. The first didn't rise as much as it should. I forgot that it really needed a warm place to rise and it was a cool day and the window was open. So the first was really sort of an experiment.
I baked it and it was good. Not as fluffy as it should have been but still good.
I felt it needed a bit more flavor so I added a bit more tomato paste and basil to the second loaf.
This one rose nicely and turned out awesome. Except THAT one, I forgot to make the X on top so it wasn't as pretty. Not sure if there is another reason for the X.
I made a fantastic Panera copycat recipe with this bread, the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus. It was SO GOOD. Seriously, my favorite sandwich in the world. No joke.
Tomato Basil Bread
1 package yeast or 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. tomato paste (bit heavy on this)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/8 - 1/5 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in basil, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, sugar, oil, salt, pepper flakes and 2 cups of flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 - 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Punch down dough, knead for 1 minute. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled about 1 hour.
With a sharp knife, cut a large X in top of loaf. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Total calories = 1460 calories
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