The smell of this bread baking is incredible. As you kneed the dough, the oils in the rosemary are released and fill your kitchen with a beautiful aromatic smell. Then, as the bread bakes, the sun-dried tomatoes fight for their turn, and you can smell something wonderful, intense and tomatoey. Maybe its due to the liberal sprinklings of rosemary my Mum used to add to the Sunday roast lamb, but the smell to me is so homey and comforting. Just one little sniff of it takes me back to her kitchen where everything is warm and safe. What makes this bread even better is that it only needs one proofing, so it’s the type of bread you can make after a tough day. Come home, channel all your frustrations into kneading and less than two hours later tuck into a big carby hug. Ok, so we shouldn’t eat our feelings. We all know that. But I’m a firm believer that sometimes all it takes to cheer us up is up is a good pair of pyjamas and a feast of bread or pasta. It’s never failed me yet.
Rosemary and Sun-dried Tomato Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)
425g Strong White Bread flour
1tsp Caster Sugar
50g sun dried tomatoes, either re-hydrated, or drained from their oil, and chopped
7g Sachet Dried easy blend yeast
225ml warm water
1 tbsp dried rosemary (or about two sprigs fresh)
A little Olive Oil
Put all your flour onto a clean surface. Make a well into the middle of your pile and add in your yeast, sugar and half of the water. Stir it up a little and then gradually add the flour until you have a lumpy batter in your well. Add the salt, rosemary and the rest of the water. Continue to mix until you’ve formed a dough. Don’t be afraid to adjust the water if you need to, sometimes you need more.
Knead the dough for ten minutes until it feels smooth and elastic.
Add in the chopped sun dried tomatoes and kneed gently for about another minute until the tomatoes are evenly spread. Don’t be too rough or your tomatoes will break up. Finding delicious little pockets of tomato is one of the best things about eating this bread.
Shape into an oval and place onto a floured baking tray. Drizzle with a little Olive Oil and scatter on a little more rosemary and salt. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Bake at about 200 degrees C until the top is golden and it sounds hollow to the touch.