There are few things in life finer than the aroma of freshly baking bread.
It takes over your house.
It takes over your senses.
It takes over your life. At least, it takes over my life.
I’m slightly obsessive about making bread. I’ve destroyed 2.5 bread machines. I used them so much that they just up and died on me. In just over one year, I went through 2.5 bread machines.
It’s now been years since I’ve had one. And I miss it dearly. For a while I was dedicated to making bread (French, sourdough, English muffins, white whole wheat, pretzels) using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and then it came close to burning it out, and dediced to give the whole bread making thing a rest.
Except for making all kinds of pizza dough (beer batter, thin and crispy, Pioneer woman perfect pizza crust) for our Friday night pizza pig out, the mixer enjoys cookies, muffins, cupcakes and brownies. It seems pretty happy with this arrangement.
And then, Secret Recipe Club assignments were sent out. And thus started my renewed obsession with baking bread.
My poor KitchenAid Mixer, it didn’t see it coming.
The yeasty aroma filling the air.
The dough, rising, rising, rising.
The first bite into warm, crusty bread.
The favor explosion.
I’m obsessed. Again. I expect to see both eye rolls and applause from my family.
This tomato basil bread, or as I’ve taken to call it, pizza bread, makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich. It’s the perfect crusty bread to wrap around a BLT. When it’s slathered with a thick layer of garlic butter, topped with parmesan and grilled, well, let’s just say it’s as close to heaven as bread can get.
P.S. I’m a litte sad because I just noticed that The Keenan Cookbook posted one amazing recipe for Snickerdoodles, my most favorite cookie after anything chocolate. They are Snickerdoodles filled with cream cheese. Oh yes, they are. If I had just a few more hours to my day, I totally would have made these too. Rest assured, they are on my list of recipes to try.
Flavorful homemade tomato basil bread ( also known as pizza bread) for the best grilled cheese, BLT or garlic bread of your life.
- 3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees )
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2-1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (the good kind)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a glass measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Whisk together with a fork and let rest for 5-10 minutes or until foamy.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the bread flour, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and parmesan cheese.
- With the mixer on low, add in the yeast mixture, tomato paste and olive oil. Mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.
- Mix the dough on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
- Spray a bowl with nonstick spray, place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
- Punch down the dough and knead by hand for one minute.
- Form a ball by pinching together the sides at the bottom, until the dough is smooth.
- Place on a baking stone or greased cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife, cut an "X" in the top of the dough.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until it is a golden red color and sounds hollow when you tap it.
- Cool before eating.
Recipe inspired by The Keenan Cookbook
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