This Italian bread is wonderfully soft and packed with flavor from the basil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and a blend of Italian cheese. The smell of this bread while being baked will make you hungry!
For the dough:
- 361 grams (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 piece large egg
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
- 74 grams (1/3 cup) luekwarm water
- 35 grams (3 tablespoons) olive oil
For the filling:
- 85 grams (3/4 cup) shredded italian-blend cheese
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 14 grams (1/3 cup) chopped fresh green basil
- To make the dough, combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until the dough forms into a ball and dough sticks a bit to the bottom of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. I used a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer in speed #2.
- Transfer the dough in a bowl that is lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm area to allow the dough to double in size, around 45-60 minutes.
- When dough has risen, gently deflate it by putting your fist in the dough and push down on it. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 22" x 8.5" rectangle. At this point, evenly spread the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil.
- Starting with one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log then pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Use your kitchen shears to cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, starting from ½ inch from one end to within ½' of the other end.
- Form the dough into an "S" shape, keeping the cut side up. Tuck both ends under the center of "S" to form a "figure 8". Pinch the ends together to seal.
- Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise again for the second time by putting it in a warm place until size doubles, about 45-60 mins.
- Around midway of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- Remove the cover and bake it for 35 - 40 minutes. Tent the bread with foil after 25 minutes to avoid over-browning.
- Remove the bread fro the oven and transfer in a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(Note 1) Use room temperature eggs.
(Note 2) I highly recommend to measure ingredients in grams. Many things can go wrong with inexact measurements!
(Note 3) STORAGE: Wrap the bread in cling wrap and store at room temperature. Best to be eaten on the same day until after 2 days.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour