Tomato Basil Bread

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

One Response to Tomato Basil Bread

  1. Kelly Cieslak October 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Kristen! Made this Tomato Basil Bread for the second time earlier today. I used about 1 cup of all natural tomato basil marinara sauce (from a jar) in place of the crushed tomatoes with great results! The dough was a bit stickier, but the end result was a really flavorful loaf of bread that I’ll be serving with dinner this week. I’m inspired to try other combinations … like salsa and jalapenos. Thanks for another great recipe! – Kelly

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