roasted garlic, tomato, basil bread

I know once upon a time I told you all I would do a food post once a week, and then, not living up to my word at all - I didn't do any food posts after that.  Well, a bit of life happened, getting in the way.  And also during that time, I had grand dreams to start my own food blog - a whole designated section of the internet that was dedicated to my foods! So, I began working on that, created a banner and everything, and was hoping to unveil my new food blog as an offering for my lack of food posts.  And then I got a job, in addition to going to school 40 hours a week, along with many other things, and essentially became the busiest person ever.  I still hope to create a food space, but I decided, for now, and for my own well-being - I'll hold off on that until I'm not quite so constantly busy.  But, I still have this space to post whatever I want! 
 So, here's a simple batard filled with roasted garlic, tomato, basil, and fresh parmesan!
For my Artisan Breads class final I made two breads, one that was going to be pretty challenging, and then this bread as a backup, because I mean how could this combination of ingredients not be completely delicious? And I'm happy I did because my more challenging bread flopped!  I'm going to try to perfect that recipe and share it soon though!  Creating your own bread recipe is more difficult than you would think.  However, this recipe is pretty simple.  You can easily make it in your own home and impress all your friends.

I used a fancy deck oven to make this, the advantage mostly being that you can steam the bread once it's in the oven.  It definitely makes a difference in the final appearance, but if you're looking to get that caramelized, crusty artisan crust in your convection you can try putting ice at the bottom of the oven, or I've heard of filling a hotel pan with water and placing that underneath the bread for the first 10 minutes of baking.

I made this bread two separate occasions.  Once where I used a Poolish preferment and once where I didn't.  I have to say the preferment made a huge difference.  The bread came out so much fluffier and crustier than the one without.  But if you're looking to save time - make it without the Poolish and it will still be delicious!

I was going to take pictures of the bread sliced, but I shared it with friends and before I knew it there wasn't any left!

 R o a s t e d   G a r l i c,  T o m a t o,  B a s i l   B r e a d  

p o o l i s h

125 grams flour
125 grams water
2 grams natural yeast

I.  Mix together the flour, yeast and water until combined.  It should look like pancake batter.
II.  Cover the poolish and let it sit overnight.  Make sure it is in a container that will allow for it to at least double in size.

d o u g h

500g strong white bread flour
20g coarse semolina
10g fresh yeast
10g salt
320g water

I.  Place the flour, semolina, and yeast in a bowl 
II..       Add the salt, water, and poolish and and bring the dough together
III..       Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and work using your preferred method until smooth and elastic
IV..       Place in a lightly-floured bowl and rest in a warm place for 1 hour

F i l l i n g

250g tomatoes (cherry tomatoes halved, larger tomatoes quartered)
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil
175 grams of parmesan cheese, reserve some for sprinkling onto the tomatoes as they roast.
12 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil

I.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  
II. Individually place the tomato slices or halves on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper, a bit of fresh basil, and parmesan on top. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil with a bit of olive oil. 
III. Bake both in the oven about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have crisped up around the edges.

f i n a l    d o u g h 

I.        Carefully turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and then use your fingertips to push it into a rectangle about 35cm by 25cm. It should be positioned like a landscape painting in relation to where you’re stood
II.       Place the tomatoes across the rectangle and gently push them into the dough. Do the same with the garlic and the basil leaves.  Liberally sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
III..       Imagine that the rectangle is split into 3 columns. Fold one of the outer columns into the centre, then fold the other outer column on top of these other two
IV.       Gently push the dough down with your fingers to work together the dough and other ingredients. Tuck in the two open ends
V.       Cut the dough horizontally to make 3 small rectangles. Tuck in the end of the central rectangle so that you have 3 pieces of dough with one open end each
VI..       Lightly oil a baking tray (you might need 2) and place the dough on the tray with the closed end down and the open end facing up. It’ll take a bit of gentle manipulation to get it to sit with this open end properly facing up
VII.       Cover the dough and leave it to rest for 30 minutes
VIII.       Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F or gas mark 7)
IX.       Once the dough has rested, place it in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown
X.   Brush with olive oil while still warm, then leave to cool completely

recipe adapted from Robert Bertinet's book  Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads.  I highly recommend checking it out!