Yield: Two 9×5 loaves
This bread is delicious, and straight out of Bob’s Red Mill Baking Book – one of my faves. Don’t let baking with yeast scare you! Buy your active dry yeast in a jar and store it in the refrigerator. You are 98.6 degrees, so “warm” water should feel just that – a little warm when you run it over your wrist. It takes 2 hours for the bread to rise, so plan accordingly.
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 30 basil leaves, sliced thin
- 3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large bowl, dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir and then let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add to the yeast mixture 3 cups of flour along with the salt, tomatoes, and olive oil, and stir vigorously to form a dough, adding the remaining flour, as needed.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the dough with the basil to incorporate it as you knead.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside, turning it over in the oil, and cover with a clean dish towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
- Return the dough to the floured surface and punch it down. Flatten and divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into a 9×5-inch loaf and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover with a dish towel and allow the loaves to rise for an additional hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the towel and place the bread in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until hollow sounding when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.