Tama's Sundried Tomato, Parsley, Rosemary and Parmesan Bread

This bread takes time to make, but many compliments will follow this bread with dense, soft texture and herbed flavor.

Servings: 8 - 10

Pair With: A good cheese and a bottle of wine!

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Tama Takahashi, Touring & Tasting Food Editor


Ingredients For the Overnight Sponge Starter:
(make up to 16 hours prior to preparing dough)

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour

Ingredients For the Dough:
The sponge starter

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

3 3/4+ cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoons salt

Additional Ingredients:
1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Directions For the Overnight Sponge Starter:
The night before making this bread, put all the starter ingredients into the bowl of your stand kitchen mixer, stir, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

Directions For the Dough:
Add the water, yeast, sugar and flour to the starter. Stir together and let sit for 15 minutes. Add the salt, then put the bowl in your stand mixer with the bread hook installed. Mix on low speed (number 2 on KitchenAid) for 10 minutes. The dough will be soft and loose.

Find a bowl that's large enough for the dough to double in size and still not reach the top. Spray the inside with olive oil and scrape the dough into it. Spray the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size, in a warm place. The oven (turned off) is a good place to let the dough rise away from drafts.

Put the minced sun-dried tomatoes into a small pot and add water to just cover them. Simmer on lowest settings until the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

On a well-floured board, scrape out the dough and stretch it into a long rectangle. Spread the tomatoes and parsley on it, roll up. Then, knead for ten minutes, adding flour to form a smooth, soft, but not sticky dough. During the course of kneading, you will gradually add 1/4 - 1/2 cup flour. Stretch into a long rectangle, sprinkle with half the rosemary and most of the Parmesan--reserving some for the top. Roll up, bring the ends around to make a round. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with the rest of the rosemary and Parmesan and place on a piece of parchment paper. Let rise 1 1/2 hours.

45 minutes before the end of rising, preheat a Dutch oven or other cast iron pot with lid large enough for the dough. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Have everything set up before putting bread in the oven: clear a space where the hot pot can be set while loading the bread, have your bread right next to the spot. As quickly as you can (safely!), take our the hot Dutch oven, pick up the bread using the edges of the parchment paper, it into the pot, put the lid back on and put the pot back into the oven. The less time the oven door is open, the less the heat loss will be. After 15 minutes baking, take the lid off the pot and turn the heat down to 350. Continue baking, around 10 minutes more--until crust is browned and the bread makes a hollow sound when thumped. Let cool before slicing for best texture.


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Chef's Notes:

My baking teacher in Culinary School used to say, "You can make good bread in a day, but it takes two days to make great bread". This recipe came about from having leftover sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It takes two days to make, but is well worth the effort.