At the height of the summer farmers market season, I will make between 250-300 loaves of yeast bread every week in addition to quick breads, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and various desserts. The most common statement I hear from my customers is “How can you possibly bake all this bread from scratch?”
The primary recipe we use for our stone-baked breads is one I adapted several years ago. By using instant yeast, I am able to speed up the process of bread making that many believe takes hours. My base recipe results in a simple rustic loaf with a dense crust, but it is easily adaptable to the addition of many savory ingredients. These savory combinations will often change the texture of the bread and often change the way the bread rises.
Adapt your favorite bread recipe with some of these flavor combinations. All of the suggested measurements are for a single-loaf recipe and should be added to the dry ingredients before adding the liquid.
Asiago Cheese, Sweet Onions and Fresh Garlic:
I learned to love the combination of bread and Asiago cheese in a sandwich at Panera Bread. When I began baking bread at home, this was the first flavor I played with. Lightly sauté one-half cup of sweet onions in one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. When the onions are translucent, allow to cool. Add the cooled onions to the dry ingredients along with 1-2 teaspoons of fresh minced garlic and two-thirds of a cup of shredded Asiago cheese.
I haven’t decided if the yeast likes the cheese or the garlic the most, but this bread rises much more quickly than any other combination I’ve tried.
Sour Cream, Onion and Cheddar Cheese:
My man and business partner wanted these flavors together in a bread and it makes incredible BLT sandwiches. Add one-half cup of diced fresh onions and 1 ½ cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients. Reduce the liquid by one-half cup and add one-half cup of sour cream. The texture of the bread will be softer.
Sun Dried Tomato and Basil:
This combination of flavors is popular in everything from salad dressing to vegetable dip. For a single loaf of bread, add one-half cup of sliced sun dried tomatoes that aren’t packed in oil and 1 teaspoon of dried basil.
Kalamata Olive and Rosemary:
A fellow market vendor asked me for an olive bread and this was the result. One-half cup of pitted, chopped Kalamata olives are added to the dry ingredients with one teaspoon of ground rosemary. I chose the ground rosemary for the flavor without the sometimes woody stems.
Changing a bread recipe is easy and will add a variety of flavor to your meals.