A few weeks ago I happened to try some of Great Harvest Bread Company's Sundried Tomato bread at a MOPS meeting.
The bread was so good I had to go back and have seconds. And kinda wanted thirds but then I might have had to endure the "eating for two" comments. I dislike that concept because eating for two should mean that I'm eating healthier than ever - not gorging myself on bread.
However, if there was one bread that I would gorge myself on, this might just be the winner. :)
Often when I find a food that I love from a restaurant, I'll go home and recreate it. One of my favorite things about cooking is being able to do that. I'm a firm believer that homemade food doesn't have to be a boring routine of food that's half-heartedly thrown together. If you're going to spend time and money on dinner, why not make it amazing?
And when I say money, you should know that I usually spend about $80/week at the grocery store for our family so I'm not talking about a major investment here.
Anyhow, that's my little rant for the week. On to the bread!
In a large bowl, pour in warm water and yeast. Allow to sit for a minute or two - the yeast will start to "bloom" or appear to be bubbling upwards.
Chop up sundried tomatoes - you want about a 1/4 - 1/3 of a cup, depending on how much you want your bread studded with tomato bits.
Add the tomatoes, salt, flour and rosemary (optional...I don't think Great Harvest puts it in theirs). I plunge my hand down into it at this point and combine it all together that way. If that's too messy for you, just use a spoon.
You can add in a bit more flour if the dough is too wet to work into a ball. Depending on the humidity levels where you live, some people may not need any extra flour and some may need 1/4-1/2 cup extra.
Once the dough comes together in a ball shape, set it in a warm place and cover it with a clean towel.
After an hour, pull the dough out, sprinkle a bit of flour on it and form it into a round loaf. Place the loaf on a baking sheet (use a pizza stone if you have one, if not, no worries!) that's been brush with vegetable oil and sprinkled with cornmeal.
The oil and cornmeal together give the loaf a nice crusty texture on the bottom.
Allow the dough to rise for another 30 minutes. You can start preheating your oven during this time - set it to 400.