Can you believe we are already into our second week of November?? It seems like this time of year the weeks just fly by, at least for me. I’m noticing all of the stores are filled with Christmas decor and gifts, and Christmas music playing in the background. As much as I love Christmas and a good Christmas tune, the first week of November is just a tad soon for me. So before we start on all the holiday baking, which I’m super excited for, I thought I would share one of my favourite things to bake. Besides cake that is.
There is just something about homemade bread that just makes me so happy. Besides it being absolutely delicious, the smell that it creates in your home is just so comforting. Normally, I make a simple and rustic bread, but every so often I want to change things up, and really take things to the next level. It’s pretty much guaranteed that anything with parmesan cheese will be amazing, but when you add flavourful sun-dried tomatoes, you really have a winner on your hands.
Now, the absolute best part of this bread is that it’s a no-knead bread. I’ve been making no-knead breads for the last couple of years, and honestly they couldn’t be any easier, and they taste absolutely fantastic. I promise once you go the no knead route, you won’t look back. I know a lot of people are scared of working with yeast, but trust me, there is nothing to be afraid of, it’s actually incredibly simple. You literally throw all the ingredients in a bowl, and mix. It’s that simple, really.
This bread would be an absolutely perfect addition to your thanksgiving meal, and I promise your family and friends will love it!
A flavourful bread filled with sun dried tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan cheese, with a soft interior and a beautiful chewy exterior.
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (unsifted, and preferably unbleached)
- olive oil for brushing, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
- Cornmeal for the board
- In a large 5qt or larger bowl, mix together the water, salt, and yeast. Add in the flour, and using a wooden spoon mix together well. If it becomes to difficult mix with the spoon, wet your hands with warm water and mix the dough with your hands without kneading, until it is combined. (The way I find easiest is to squeeze the dough.) The resulting dough will be loose and wet, avoid the temptation to add more flour, this is what you want.
- Lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap (not airtight), and let rise in a warm draft-free area, until the dough has doubled in size, and the top has flattened, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- At this point you can use the dough immediately, or refrigerate it to use at a later point. It can be used up to 4 days later.
- Dust the top of the dough with flour, and cut off about a 1 pound piece of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Lightly dust the dough with flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough, and tucking into the bottom of the dough on four sides, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.
- Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, spread the chopped sun-dried tomatoes evenly over the surface of the dough, and sprinkle the grated cheese over the tomatoes.
- Starting from the short end of the dough, roll the dough into a log, then gently tuck the ends under the log to create an oval loaf. Very gently transfer the loaf to a cornmeal covered pizza peel. For my breads I always use a piece of parchment paper with cornmeal because I can never get it off the pizza peel, and it saves me a lot of frustration, so feel free to do the same.
- Let the loaf rest and rise for 1 hour on the pizza peel (or about 40 minutes for fresh dough, if you have not refrigerated it).
- 20 minutes before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack of your oven, and an empty broiler tray on another shelf, off to one side. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Just before baking, brush the top of the loaf with olive oil, and using a serrated knife, slash a few parallel cuts gently into the loaf.
- Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone, quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly shut the oven door. Let the bread bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm.
- Allow the bread to cool before slicing or eating. I understand the appeal of eating warm bread, however, I promise the bread is much better when cool, or almost completely cool.
- This recipe will make 1 large loaf of bread, but feel free to use only half of the basic dough, and cut the filling amount in half to make a smaller one. The remaining dough can be used on another day to make another loaf, or you can make a basic loaf with that dough. Simply shape the dough into a ball the same way, then let it rest on the pizza peel for 40 minutes, then lightly dust with flour and using a serrated knife cut a few slashes in it. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, using the same steps above.
- The basic bread recipe is easily doubled or tripled.
- If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask!
Good luck & enjoy!!
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
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