|Sun Dried Tomato & Cheese Bread|
Makes 1 10" round loaf (approx.)
2 cups unbleached white bread flour, or regular white flour, plus extra.
1 tsp. active dry yeast
6-8 oz. warm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
Olive oil for brushing
3/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 to 1 cup shredded sharp cheese (such as cheddar or gruyere, parmesan etc.)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. coarse sea salt for the top
Corn meal for sprinkling
Mix the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water (100-105oF), cover with plastic wrap and let froth - about 5 minutes. Fill a measuring cup with 2 cups flour, add the fine sea salt and mix with a fork.
Pour 1/2 cup warm water along with the salt, tomatoes, olive oil and cheese into a food processor (or better still, in a stand mixer with dough paddle), and mix. Add one cup of flour and pulse until well blended. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the flour and pulse until it forms a ball of dough without sticking to the sides.
On a lightly floured board, knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then shape into a ball, pinching the bottom so that the creases are sealed.
Brush a large bowl with a little olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm location, for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Once doubled, remove the plastic wrap and punch a finger into the dough - it should be slow to rise - then it's ready. Place again on a lightly floured board, and knead again for about 2-3 minutes. Shape it again into a ball or oval.
Heat oven to 450oF.
Sprinkle a little corn meal at the bottom of a dutch oven (such as Le Creuset) and place the dough in it. Cover, and let rest for about 30 minutes until doubled again. Spray with olive oil & make slits over the top with a sharp knife, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Take the cover off, and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes - carefully watch it so that it doesn't burn ! Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. (If you want the crust to be very crispy, you may return the bread to the oven on it's own for about 5 minutes).
Delicious as it is, or served with a dipping sauce of olive oil and balsamic vinegar !