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You Say Tomato…

3 Apr

Looks like a normal enough loaf of bread, no?

Tomato Bread

Perfectly normal. Golden. Round. Bready.

But take a closer look…

Tomato Bread

Hard to tell, but something might be amiss. Here, let’s compare…

Nigel's Loaf

Whoa. Looks like that top loaf’s been hanging out with the Oompa-Loompas!

No, no, no. No fake baking here! That loaf is chock full of lycopeney love. It’s real, honest to goodness, home-baked Tomato Bread that is!

It’s an idea that’s been floating around in my head for many months after I saw it over on Sher’s site back in November. I think one of the reasons I tackled bread making at all was so I could try my hand at that ‘mater loaf and her Salsa Bread. I mean, look at that loaf, with the veins of cheese? Yum.

So when life threw me an unexpected day at home I made bread. It was an adaptation of Nigel’s Really Good & Very Easy Bread, but with a few twists; one intended, one not-so-intended.

The first twist was to use tomato powder. I originally found this in tiny little jars at O&Co. but have since found it in giant bags at Kalustyan’s. It’s just dehydrated tomatoes, kind of like tomato paste in powder form, but easier to store and easily ordered online. The one drawback is that the powder tends to clump, a problem easily solved with a quick trip through a nifty sifter like this one.

The second “twist” can only be chalked up to distraction. I knew the recipe called for 4 cups of flour, of which I wanted to do 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat to 2 1/2 cups AP flour. But no, I added 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and felt the need to add more AP flour to try and salvage the taste. I didn’t want the loaf to taste too healthy.

I conveyed this to the boy when he got home and he suggested he have a sign made for the kitchen that says, “Pay attention while you’re making bread!” I imagine it would look a lot like the sign my grandfather made that he hung over the kitchen door that said “Kwitcherbellyachin’.” Sigh. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this whole baking thing…

Tomato Bread

But then again, maybe I am! Because the bread still turned out delicious! It’s sweet and savory and not overly tomato-y. In fact, it’s kind of mysterious. I bet it would be beyond perfect with some Kalamata olives kneaded into the dough. Or maybe some basil… The possibilities are endless.

But what to eat with it? Fresh mozzarella of course! We haven’t found any place in the new ‘hood that can even approximate the transcendental bliss that is a ball of love from DiPalo’s, but the stuff they make at Cangiano’s isn’t half bad.

Tomato Bread

Thinly slice the mozzarella and place one layer on a thick slice of Tomato Bread. Salt lightly. Drizzle a wee bit of the very best extra virgin olive oil over the cheese. Pop a few fresh basil leaves on top of that, and a few leaves of arugula on top of that to make a leafy, open-faced sandwich. A thin slice of jamon or prosciutto would be wonderful as well.

Eat with abandon.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Tomato Bread.

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