Yield: Makes 1 loaf (1400 g) or 2 loaves (700 g each), free-form
In 1994 I attended the RBA show in Vegas: it was my first big trade show and we took a precious two days off from behind the bench at Rising Star in Victoria, B.C. I was fascinated by the equipment and array of products available, but mostly, like a bug-eyed kid, I engaged with the demonstrations, which I feel are essential to any successful trade show.
It was fall and at one of the equipment stands a baker was making white bread. He announced that the formula didn’t have any water in it, which of course, hooked us all. After he blended the dry ingredients, he took a case of ripe tomatoes and started throwing them, one by one, in the mixer until the correct consistency was achieved.
The result: a beautiful silky, pink dough which baked into a tasty, interestingly flavoured loaf. I never forgot that recipe and have used it often. We have been blessed with a warm and sunny fall on Vancouver Island and our garden tomato harvest has been abundant. Time to make the tomato bread! Over the years I have adjusted the formula and now use a 100 per cent sourdough overnight process.
Organic white flour 150 g
Water 150 g
Levain (sour starter) 31 g
Tomato (ripe, variable) 450 g
Fresh basil, chopped 15 g
Fresh ground black pepper To taste
Organic white flour 600 g
Water (variable) 0
Salt 15 g
Levain 330 g
Total 1,472 g
- Make levain 6-10 hours before mixing using a recently refreshed starter.
- Blend the tomatoes with a stick blender or, if very ripe, mash up by hand.
- Tomato amount will be variable depending on the variety used and degree of ripeness.
- Mix all ingredients by hand in a bowl and give 30 minutes’ rest. Cover dough.
- Lightly fold and rest overnight, covered, in fridge.
- Next morning, stretch and fold dough and gently shape into boule (can be shaped into 2 smaller loaves if desired).
- Rest in dusted couche, basket or banneton in a warm place for 2-4 hours or until fully proofed.
- If using a Dutch oven, heat first. Cut (score) dough, and carefully place into HOT Dutch oven.
- Lid on and bake with fan assist for 20 minutes at 425 F (220 C).
- Turn down to 410 F (210 C) and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Take off lid and finish baking for another 10-15 minutes (if using an oven without fan assist, increase temperatures by 25 F (10 C).
- Check internal temperature with a probe thermometer for doneness to 205 F (96 C).
- If cutting into 2 loaves, can be baked in pan or directly on baking sheet or hearth in any shape and baking times will be shorter.
- Enjoy with your favourite accompaniment!