As the blog’s first post, I’d like to start things off on the right foot by giving myself a conceited pat on the back.
The other day, I decided to reach out of the comfort zone. Try something new. My mom’s fantastic, no-knead bread recipe could use a bit of Ben Gaiarin’s ultra experimenting. Oh boy. I have a decent track record in terms of being scientific in the kitchen. The last time I messed up a batch of cookies was nine years ago. My brother, Alex, and I forgot a cup of flour; the cookies were as thin as paper. But this is cooking we are talking about. I have many more years of experience in tweaking baking recipes.
So I put on my surgeon gloves, sterilized the microscope lens, and went through the process of creating a bread never before seen. Creating a bread without looking at a recipe, or asking Mom for advice. It was to be a hit or miss.
I decided I would create a fresh tomato sauce, similar to the one I make for the Soccer Player Pasta (I can post that recipe sometime) when the tomatoes are in season. Then I would mix it into the normal dough recipe I had gotten comfortable with. Add some rosemary too, and then let it rise. This could be risky.. I had doubts the tomato peels wouldn’t burn, and that the sauce would mix in at all!
So as Dad napped, and Mom painted, I fired up the pan and started dicing the tomatoes we are kindly given from our neighbor (the story of our neighbor and his tomatoes is for another post!). I didn’t want to be bothered, or hear that my idea wouldn’t work. If it were to fail, then fine. Let it fail.
I pan-cooked the tomatoes in a touch of oil until they turned to a mush of tomato glop and peels. I decided not to separate the peels out, I wanted to see what would happen with them. Once the sauce was ready, I added the yeast dissolved in water to the flour and salt mixture, just as the normal bread recipe says. Then I added the sauce, and mashed it into the dough until the dough turned red. Just the color I was looking for! Last, I threw in some rosemary fresh from the vineyard’s garden.
The end result was a unique bread of fantastic flavor, look, and texture. The rosemary gives the bread a strong flavor, as the tomato balances it out. Went great with my mom’s gazpacho the first night! I real hit. That’s 1-0 for Ben Gaiarin’s Lab of Champtasticalness. Next time I make it, I may try to sprinkle a little parmigiano on top. Wait! Don’t tell me what’ll happen! I’ll find out myself.
Tomato-Rosemary Bread Recipe:
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Dry-Active Yeast
- Fresh Rosemary
- A round bread pot
- Dice up a medium-sized panful of tomatoes, about five or six. Heat them on the stove in a touch of olive oil, enough olive oil to cover the surface area of the pan. Add a few pinches of salt. Heat until sauce becomes a mash of tomatoes and peels.
- Put 3 cups of flour in a bowl. Add a little less than a teaspoon of salt. Mix the dry mixture together.
- The flour-to-water ratio should be about 1 cup water for 2 cups flour. In this case we put in 3 cups of flour, so mix about 1 cup and 1/3 of warm water with a teaspoon of yeast. The water temperature should be that of a hot bath. Not boiling hot though.
- Once the yeast dissolved in the water, pour it into the dry mixture and mix well. The mixture should be sticking to the spoon quite a bit, and be a little tough to stir. You can always add more flour or water depending on your cooking instincts!
- Mix the tomato sauce into the dough until the dough turns red.
- Mix the plucked bits of rosemary into the dough until spread out evenly.
- Cover bowl and let dough rise. This should take around 5 hours.
- Once risen, sprinkle flour over dough and punch the dough down. Cover and let rise again for another hour or so. (this step is optional!)
- Sprinkle flour and punch dough again. Then sprinkle more flour on the sides of the dough and tuck the dough off the bowl’s edge to form a ball.
- Preheat oven to 470 degrees Fahrenheit with the round bread pot in it.
- Take the hot pot out of the oven and place the dough inside, maintaining it’s circular shape.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the pot’s cover on, and 15 minutes with it off. When done, take the bread out of the pot right away to cool.
This bread recipe does not require a bread pot. You can use the dough to create an infinite amount of bread forms. As long as you know how to cook with your bread cookware, the dough can be used to create any form. For instance, this dough would make a good baguette. The only thing I would change if I were to do this in baguette form instead of the circular loaf is the cooking times. You need to know what change needs to be made to the cooking time if you want to change the bread’s form.