Tomato & Parmesan Loaf

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I love Sundays.

Sundays are the only days I’m not working or at uni so I always try my best to put them to good use.

What kind of good use? Sleeping and baking mostly, and lately I’ve been baking a lot of bread!

Bread is a great thing to make on a lazy day off, it doesn’t require any long prep, any fiddly nonsense or any fancy decoration at the end. You simply make, bake and eat. Yes it takes a few hours to rest your dough before baking it but just because it takes a lot of time doesn’t mean it has to take up a lot of your time! You can simply make the dough and forget about it for a few hours while you catch up with your favourite TV shows or finally get round to doing some cleaning…

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The point is, bread shouldn’t be stressful to make. It used to frighten me but I’m gradually rekindling my relationship with it. I like to make a fresh loaf on a Sunday for the family, it means I can feed my baking habit without feeding everyone full of fat and sugar like I would with something like an apple pie! (Or the Salted Caramel Squares I baked this weekend too…oops!)

This loaf is one that I’m been hoping to make for a while now, flavoured bread is a wonderful addition to soup or sandwiches or used to mop up leftover pasta sauce and this Sun Dried Tomato & Parmesan Bread is no exception. Subtly flavoured with strong Italian cheese and flecked with the gorgeous colour and aroma of sun-dried tomatoes, this bread is an absolute winner, even for those who aren’t big Parmesan fans.

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You can easily turn this loaf into 10-12 rolls or into a loaf of a different shape if you like.

First, weigh your flour into a large bowl and pour the yeast and salt in at opposing sides of the bowl. Rub the yeast and salt into the flour with your fingers.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and use either a spatula or your hands to combine the ingredients together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. With bread, usually the wetter or stickier your dough is, the better the finished article so don’t be tempted to add extra flour!

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, roll up your sleeves and use your hands (or a food mixer if you’re lucky enough to have one!) to knead the dough for at least a good 10 minutes until the dough is noticeably more elastic. As I have said before, I don’t really have any particular formula for kneading dough, I just squash and pull it on the worktop until it feels right.

Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with some clingfilm and pop it somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size and is full of little air bubbles.

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Once rested, tip the dough back onto your floured surface and shape it into your desired shape, I shaped mine into an oblong for a loaf tin. Don’t worry about any scruffy parts, you can easily tuck them underneath!

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When you’ve shaped it, pop the dough on/in its oiled baking tin/tray back to the warm place it rested before and leave it to rise again for another 60-90 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven.

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Once the dough has doubled in size again, score it however you like, I drew a knife in a single cut down the centre to make it look like a traditional loaf of bread.

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Pop it in the oven until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped from underneath. If using a loaf tin like I did, I’d recommend removing the loaf from the tin 25 minutes into baking and then returning it to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes on its own until baked – I got this tip from James Morton’s ‘Brilliant Bread’, it helps to support the sides of the bread and ensure it is fully cooked.

Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool completely before attempting to slice it, cutting still-warm bread can be a challenge!

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(Check out that booty!)

Enjoy your tasty bread on its own, spread with cheese or use it make delicious sandwiches.

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Tomato & Parmesan Loaf

Tomato & Parmesan Loaf

The subtle salty cheese and intense sun-dried tomato flavours make this a really special bread!

Ingredients

  • 300g strong white flour
  • 200g strong wholemeal flour (you can use all white instead if you like, I just love the added nutty flavour of wholemeal!)
  • 1 sachet of fast-action dried yeast
  • Pinch of salt
  • 350ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 70g sun-dried tomatoes, diced (you can get these in jars in most supermarkets)
  • 1tsp of any dried herbs you like such as basil, oregano or rosemary

Instructions

  1. First, weigh your flour into a large bowl and pour the yeast and salt in at opposing sides of the bowl. Rub the yeast and salt into the flour with your fingers.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and use either a spatula or your hands to combine the ingredients together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for at least a good 10 minutes until the dough is noticeably more elastic.
  4. Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with some clingfilm and pop it somewhere warm for 60-90 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Once rested, tip the dough back onto your floured surface and shape it into your desired shape, I shaped mine into an oblong for a loaf tin.
  6. Pop the dough on/in its oiled baking tin/tray back to the warm place it rested before and leave it to rise again for another 60-90 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven – 220 degrees for conventional ovens or 200 degrees for fan ovens.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size again, score it however you like, I drew a knife in a single cut down the centre to make it look like a traditional loaf of bread.
  8. Pop it in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped from underneath. If using a loaf tin like I did, I’d recommend removing the loaf from the tin 25 minutes into baking and then returning it to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes on its own until baked.
  9. Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool completely before attempting to slice it, cutting still-warm bread can be a challenge!
  10. Enjoy!
http://maverickbaking.com/tomato-parmesan-loaf/

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