Monday, July 22, 2013

Tomato, Spinach and Cheese Swirl Bread

I've had this recipe as one of my favorites for a long time.  It's a tri-color bread, so it great to bring for get togethers with friends and family.  It tastes delicious and when it's baking, it fills the house with the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread...yummm, nothing like getting that first piece of bread out and spreading with butter that melts on contact.  I'm really a bread person, so while this recipe takes a while to prepare, I think it's worth the time.

Typically when I make this recipe, I make a double batch because then it uses a full square of frozen spinach and a full can of tomato paste. (And makes 4 loaves).  The recipe that I've listed below is for the regular size recipe which makes 2 loaves of bread.

Yum!!!
Sponge:

1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105 degrees)
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup all purpose flour

Cheese Dough:

1 egg
1/2 cup warm milk (105 degrees)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 - 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Tomato Dough:

1/4 cup tomato paste
4 sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, finely chopped
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees)
1 1/2 - 2 cups all purpose flour

Spinach Dough:

1/2 cup thawed, frozen chopped spinach
1 teaspoon leaf basil, crumbled (I use fresh basil chopped in  season)
1 1/4 - 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Directions:

Prepare Sponge: Combine sugar and warm water in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Sprinkle yeast over the top; stir to dissolve yeast.  Let stand until foamy (approx. 10 minutes).
Transfer to a  medium size bowl.  Add salt, olive oil, and flour.  Mix until smooth.  Divide sponge into thirds (approximately 1/2 cup each)

Prepare  Cheese Dough:

Beat together one third sponge, egg, milk and Parmesan cheese and 1 cup flour until smooth in a large bowl.  Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Transfer to a floured surface and knead dough for 5-10 minutes.  Place back in bowl and cover with a towel.  Place in a draft free area and allow to rise until doubled (approximately 1 1/2 hours)

Prepare Tomato Dough:

Beat together one third sponge, tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, warm water, and 1/2 cup flour in a large bowl.  Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.  Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Place back in bowl and cover with a town.  Place in a draft free area and allow to rise until doubled (approximately 1 1/2 hours)

Prepare Spinach Dough:

Place remaining third sponge and spinach in a food processor.  Whirl until spinach is pureed (about 1 minute).  (For a heartier recipe, you can just mix the two by hand.)  Mix together spinach mixture with basil and 1/2 cup flour.  Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.  Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Place back in bowl and cover with a town.  Place in a draft free area and allow to rise until doubled (approximately 1 1/2 hours)

Grease two baking sheets.

After 1 1/2 hours, punch down dough and divide each in half.

Roll out half the cheese dough into a 14 x 6 - inch rectangle
Roll out half the tomato dough into a 13.5 x 5.5 - inch rectangle.  Place on top of the cheese dough.
Roll out half the spinach dough into a 13.5 x 5.5 - inch rectangle.  Place on top of the tomato dough
Roll up doughs together from long side.  Pinch seam and ends to seal.  Place seam side down on greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled (approx. 45 minutes)

Repeat with other dough halves for the second loaf.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut several 1/4 inch deep slashes into the top of the dough with a sharp knife.  Bake loaves for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.  During the last 5 minutes.  Brush with butter.
Preparing the Sponge

Tomato Dough ready to rise

Spinach Dough ready to rise



Cheese Dough doubled in size

Punched down cheese dough before dividing

Divided cheese dough into 4 pieces (remember, I doubled the recipe above) Divide yours into two balls.

Cheese Dough rolled out


Rolling out tomato dough

Tomato dough added to top of cheese dough and spinach dough rolled out

Spinach dough placed on top of tomato dough

Doughs all rolled together and slashed placed in top of dough


Butter added to top of dough


Dough doubled in size




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