Friday, July 1, 2011

Val’s Original Sundried Tomato Polenta Bread

Bread in a basket by ValsPlay


Last week I had a yearning for the taste of summer along the Mediterranean Coast.  Of course I thought of sundried tomatoes!  Sweet tomatoes dried in the sun and marinated in a bath of olive oil and herbs.  Yum!

If you love sundried tomatoes and you love bread, then you MUST try my original recipe.  Here we go…

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup sundried tomato oil (This is the oil that the tomatoes are marinating in.  It gives the bread its wonderful flavor.)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ¼ cup water (I like to use potato water if I happen to have it.  This is water I save from the pot after I have boiled potatoes.  The yeastie beasties love potato water!)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon dry yeast

Preparation:

Using your electric mixer with a paddle attachment or your bread machine, combine the ingredients – keeping in mind your machine’s instructions.  


When kneading is done, let the dough rise for about 45 min. or until it has doubled in size.  (If you prefer hand kneading, see my note on hand kneading in my Best Ever Polenta Pumpkin Seed Bread Recipe.) 


Ready to be kneaded


Once the dough has doubled, pour it out onto a floured board or countertop.  (This is a slow-riser so be patient.)  Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes, and then shape into a round loaf.  

Let rise again until doubled in size.  (I use a damp cloth to cover the dough while it is rising.)


Ready for scoring

Scoring the loaf:

Once the dough has doubled in size (for the second time) using a sharp knife, score the loaf.  This helps in the release of steam during baking (and it looks lovely!)  I created a star pattern on my loaf.


Scored with a star pattern

Baking:

Bake your loaf for about 25 to 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 385 Fahrenheit (about 195 C).  If you would like to try steaming as you bake, see my note below on the steaming technique.

Look how lovely!

A golden crust

Summer weather permitting, enjoy your bread "al fresco" with a hearty Greek salad.  Don't forget the wine!


Cooling on the terrace

Al fresco dining


Steaming the oven:

Steaming is a technique used by bakers who want to keep the dough moist during the first part of the baking cycle.  This allows the dough to expand fully.  I learned this technique from Rose Levy Beranbaum in her book, "The Bread Bible".  

For this recipe I used the ice cube method: 

Place a baking pan in the bottom of your oven.  I did this during preheating.  Just after you place the dough in the oven, take 4 or 5 ice cubes and throw them in the pan and then quickly close the oven door.  Bake as directed.

I cannot tell you how delicious this bread is.  You have to try it!


Sliced and ready to eat!


I would love to hear your experiences with this recipe.  How did it go?



8 comments:

  1. i will try that, looks so yummy. thanks for sharing

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  2. This looks incredible! I want some right now!

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  3. wow!!! this looks great and I'm sure it taste delicious!! I have a jar of sundried tomatoes so...I can try!!!

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  4. Love you blog. I'll Be doing This.
    Thank's for sharing.
    Xoxo Helena.

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  5. Can't wait to try this recipe - it sounds delicious! And thanks for the great tip about using ice cubes to keep the dough moist :) Erika Price Jewelry

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  6. This looks positively incredible! I hope to try it very soon. Thank you so much for sharing it. I love these kinds of ideas!

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  7. I love sun dried tomatoes and this looks so good!

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  8. Thanks for all of your comments, everyone! Has anyone tried this? How did it come out?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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