I’ve got to admit I’m not a bread-making type of person. Yeast freaks me out with its mysterious rising quality. Kneading always seems so labor intensive. And who has time to wait around for an hour while bread rises when you can go pick up a perfectly good loaf at the grocery store in no time?
That’s why I love writing the meal plans and this blog. It gives me inspiration to try things I’ve avoided out of laziness or fear of failure. It’s amazing how insidious fear of failure is. I mean, how does it get into our cooking? What’s the worst that could happen with a failed recipe? Some wasted time? Twenty bucks down the drain?
But somehow I have in the past equated making bread with walking the plank of a pirate ship or finding yourself naked at school.
Nope, folks, you have basically nothing to lose when you make bread. It is super cheap. It is super not time consuming. That hour you spend waiting for the bread to rise—you can get a lot done. Or take a nap. And…kneading is FUN!
If you’re not convinced, start with pizza dough, which is what I did. Very easy and unintimidating, and very delicious.
I’ve made this bread recipe twice. The first time I followed the original recipe using organic bread flour, by the time I got to four cups of flour, it was clear something wasn’t right. I ended up having to add a bunch of water and cram the bread in my loaf pan. It really could have made two loaves. Also, I skimped on the fillings and ended up with something like this.
It was pretty but most of the taste was concentrated in the middle. Plus I really wanted a whole-wheat flavor with these fillings. So a few weeks later I tried again with whole wheat flour and tweaked the recipe, using only 2 cups of flour.
I used more rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and cheese and spread them around on the loaf.
When I rolled it up, it was much smaller and fit more easily into the loaf pan. The key seems to be to balance out the amount of flour and water, which I imagine changes with different types of flour.
I also had some egg-and-cream mixture leftover from Williams-Sonoma’s Fig Crostada recipe, so I spread some on the top of the bread while it was baking for the glazed look here. Totally optional.
And you end up with a bread that’s almost a meal in itself. Pretty delicious.
Sundried Tomato Olive Goat Cheese Bread
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 –3 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- organic olive oil
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and then begin mixing in flour 1/2 cup at time (I used 2 cups), using either your hands or an electric mixer with a dough hook. Once the mixture is dry enough to handle, sprinkle about 1/4 cup flour on a cutting board and knead dough for 10 minutes. Shape it into a ball. Coat the mixing bowl you used with olive oil; place the dough inside and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Roughly chop tomatoes, olives, and rosemary. Roll dough out on the floured cutting board and spread the tomatoes, olives, rosemary, and crumbled goat cheese evenly across the top. Roll dough up into a log and tuck in the ends.
- Using the remaining olive oil from the bowl the dough was rising in, grease a loaf pan or baking dish. Place the log inside and let it sit in a warm place for 20–30 minutes under a dry towel.
- Preheat oven to 425. Bake bread for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 375 for another 10 minutes. Bake for the final 10 minutes at 325. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool and brush the top with olive oil. Let the loaf cool for an hour before serving.