Monday, August 4, 2008

Italian Herbed Tomato Bread

****This recipe featured on Key Ingredient's blog, The Back Burner. Check it out here.

This post is for a new blogging event called I Love Baking, created by Ben of What's Cooking. The round up for I Love Baking will be posted bi-weekly (every two weeks). If you ask me, August isn't the ideal month to start an event that involves heating up the entire kitchen by turning on the oven, but I love baking enough that I decided to join in the heat anyway!

Italian Herbed Tomato Bread
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup V-8 or tomato juice
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
3-4 cups flour (I did 2 cups white, the rest was whole wheat)

Combine liquids, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and oil in saucepan. Heat until tepid (95 to 115 degrees). Pour into large mixing bowl. Add yeast and stir.

Add flour, one cup at a time at first, mixing well. As the dough thickens, add flour more slowly, stirring until the dough is kneadable. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, adding dough sparingly to keep the dough from sticking.

Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and allow to rise in an oiled bowl until doubled in bulk. I happened to be cooking our dinner in the crock pot, using a plate as a lid, so I just set my bowl on top of the crock pot, and the dough rose quite nicely!

Punch down, and shape into two small loaves or one large loaf. Place in greased loaf pan(s). Cover and allow to rise again until the dough is not quite as large as you want the finished product to be. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes (35 for larger loaf).

I created this recipe as I was making it today. I have a "universal recipe" formula for yeast bread that lists ingredient types and amounts, and I get to decide on the exact ingredients I use. We happened to have a small amount of V-8 and chicken broth in the fridge, so in they went! I was very pleased with the savory and flavorful results of this baking experiment.

Universal Recipe Formula
1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid (water, juice, broth)
Up to 1/4 cup fat (oil, butter)
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. yeast
Up to 2 tsp. salt
Up to 1/4 cup sugar or up to 1/2 cup honey (use less for savory breads)
3-4 cups flour (up to 1 cup low-gluten, like whole wheat, rye, soy, etc)
1/2 cup optional additions (grated cheese or vegetables, fruit puree, raisins, oats, etc)
Up to 2 tsp. flavoring (herbs or spices)

Combine everything except yeast and flour. Heat to tepid. Stir in yeast. Continue as directed above.

You know, I think this would work awesome as a pizza crust!


VG said...

Steph, the bread looks good and what a novel idea of putting it on top of the crock pot! I hear what you say about the summer gets up to 40 degree celcius here and my kitchen is normally closed to any form of baking during that time.

Haley said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


Lisa said...

Love the bread and the crockpot is a great idea!

Jenny said...

This looks perfect! I wish I was more motivated to make my own bread. You are pushing me in the right direction!

Mommy's Kitchen said...

Mmmmm I love bread like that. the crust looks so crispy and good. I gotta try this. Bread is so my weakness other than sweets Ü

Michelle said...

Okay, you are so much better at posting recipes than I am. Although, when you have three kids we'll just see... (maniacally insane laugh) ;-)

How inventive! This would be yummy with some shredded cheese either mixed into the dough, or roll the dough out and put the cheese on it, roll up like a jelly roll, and let rise in the bread pan before baking. (I had something like that once, really yummy, it would be fantastic in a seasoned bread like this)

Ben said...

This is an amazing entry! Thank you for participating. The roundup will be up in a little while. :)