Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fun Sandwich Surprise

Note: as I review what I've typed here, I realize this is technically 3 separate recipes. Will edit in a bit...perhaps after I've made a panino. Dammit, after thinking about bread and cheese for the last half hour, I'm hungry. ;D

I've been on something of a bread-making frenzy lately and consequently, have tired of my basic white bread recipe. To tart things up a bit yesterday, I pawed through my cabinets. Fortunately, I stumbled over and seized upon the sun-dried tomatoes whose original intended purpose was long since forgotten. I chopped those up and together with a dash of oregano and some julienned basil,  they were kneaded into the dough before the second rise.

If I say so myself (and I do), the house was bathed in that blissful aroma known as Eau du Pizza Joint while the bread was rising and baking. I knew what to do with this loaf even before it came out of the oven. I dragged out the panini maker and heated it up. To a halved slice of my wonderful bread, I added slices of some fresh mozzarella from the local MegaLoMart, as well as a few slices of Roma tomatoes and a couple of fresh basil leaves. Then my off the cuff concoction went into the panini press for just a few minutes, until I heard the hiss of melted cheese hitting the hot grill.

Yes Virginia, it was as wonderful as it sounded. The bread was all toasty and crisp, with the gooey wonderfulness of the cheese. I made one for Daniele when he came home from from school and he declared it a perfectly gourmet combination of ingredients. Ha. He used to say that about everything I made, but when he realized he was losing credibility, he made it a point to dislike things occasionally.

I have decided to name my creation Panino Caprese.

For the bread:

1 cup water
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS sugar
1tsp salt
1 1\2 TBS yeast
3 cups flour
1\2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
good pinch of dried oregano
scant TBS julienned fresh basil

My method for making bread with the KitchenAid is posted here. 

Remove dough when it isn't particularly sticky and knead of a floured surface until somewhat satiny. Back in the day they used to say until it feels "like a baby's butt," but I don't think that expression is quite PC anymore. Place in a greased bowl and allow to raise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, usually around 90 minutes. Punch down dough on the floured surface and knead a few minutes more.

Form into desired shape, ie, conventional loaf, baguette, road load, focaccia...whatever floats your boat and set to rise a second time -- around 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350-75 for around 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

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