Semi-Dried Tomato and Basil Bread

We have had really bad weather here at the Capital for the past few days. Yesterday was absolutely yucky! It rained endlessly and we had gale force winds – I thought our roof would be picked up by the breeze! It’s still pretty yucky out there today, but the wind isn’t as bad (not howling anymore, like it did yesterday) but it’s still pretty chilly.

Anyway, I stayed home today and yesterday – not because of the crappy weather but because I had a bad case of contact dermatitis. Let’s just say perfume and my skin don’t like each other, and last Tuesday, I accidentally made them meet by spritzing a bit of scent on my face. So I have, since Wednesday morning, been looking like I picked a fight with a swarm of bees, and lost. It’s taking a while for the redness and swelling to subside, but it is getting better – little by little.

This little incarceration at home is the reason why I have decided to try to make Semi-Dried Tomato and Basil Bread. I figured it’ll go well with the beef stew I made yesterday (2 or more meals are sitting in the slow cooker). I’ve actually been meaning to try this recipe (came in the breadmaker’s recipe book) out but haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that I’m home alone and have got nothing else to do – I thought to myself … lezdodiz!

Ingredients (for a 500g loaf)

  • 185 ml luke (i am your father) warm water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour (i used regular flour)
  • 1/4 tsp bread  improver
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp semi-dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil.

So, I chose the Basic Setting for this recipe (cookbook said: “best results are achieved by using the longer settings, producing a loaf with optimal texture”) and selected dark crust colour.

I tried to follow the recipe above to the dot, however, since I didn’t have separate bread improver, I used Edmond’s Surebake Yeast instead of the usual Active Yeast I normally use when I make plain white bread. Now, these loaves don’t usually turn out perfect on the first attempt, so I’ll post a picture of the final product later, when the baking is done. I’ll keep doing this recipe until I get the proportions right so expect several updates over several days (or weeks).

and after 3 hours …

IMG_0171
FAIL!

As evidenced above, my first attempt at the semi-dried tomato and basil bread was a big FAILURE! The bread didn’t rise! I’m not sure if it’s because of the ridiculously cold weather we’re having or due to the different kind of Yeast I used. It’s also a wee bit too salty for my liking.

So … I guess I’ll have to try again tomorrow and make the following changes:

  1. Use Active Yeast (and maybe throw out the one I used for this)
  2. Reduce salt by 1/4 tsp and
  3. increase yeast by 1/4 tsp
    *Nos 2 & 3 are from the cookbook, if I were to use the Rapid Bake setting.

Let’s see how this will go.

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