Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scratch that Itch....Maybe????

It's been weeks since I posted that I had the urge to bake something and that urge has yet to be fulfilled. Sigh. I am the first to admit that I am one terrible baker. I lack the patience and finesse required to be a truly good baker. I like to think I make up for it in enthusiasm. I really WANT to be good at it. So today, if I can get home from work early enough, I am going to attempt to make this bread that has been rolling around in my head ever since I first learned of it's existence. Those people over at King Arthur Flour are evil geniuses! LOL!

Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco

The winning recipe from the first-ever National Festival of Breads, this white bread filled with fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder, and shredded cheese has a wonderful soft texture and is packed with flavor. The unique shape is simple to achieve and makes an impressive presentation. Congratulations and thanks to Dianna Wara of Washington, Illinois, for creating this recipe — it's a winner, for sure!

1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm low-fat milk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1) Combine the water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour, and mix and knead - by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine - until you've made a cohesive, soft dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes; lay them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Using kitchen shears, finely chop the tomatoes.

3) Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half. Roll one piece into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Sprinkle on half the garlic, cheese, basil, and tomatoes.

4) Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal.

5) Place the log seam-side down on a baking sheet. Using kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.

6) Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8"; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7) While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

8) Bake the first loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bake the remaining loaf.

9) Remove loaves from their pans; cool on racks. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: 2 loaves.

DOES THAT NOT LOOK AND SOUND DIVINE! I hope mine comes out well. Good thing there are step-by-step pictorial instructions on the KA website for me to follow. Fingers crossed everyone! It should go wonderfully with the petite fillets we will be grilling for dinner and I think my DH will enjoy coming home to the smell of freshly baked bread. I know I would!

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