Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sun Dried Tomatoes - Pastas and Flatbread

I love tomatoes. Whether it be just eating them in raw slices, or cooked with eggs (Stir fried tomato eggs, a Chinese dish), or in tomato soup, or in the sauce in a pasta dinner...but one thing I have been longing to try is sun dried tomatoes. I've come across this ingredient many times before both in cooking and baking recipes, but I only bought my first jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil and the dried ones a month or so ago, after years of wanting to try one (although it may be a basic staple in western households, they were actually really hard to get hold of in Hong Kong!)

When I got home with my beloved jar, I immediately popped open the lid, snipped half a tomato, and ate it. Mmmm. The flavour is hard to describe - sweet, yet a little sour, with a deep flavour that I was hooked with at the first instant. With the ones in oil, I made the Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad from Pioneer Woman and a Pesto Pasta from Use Real Butter. Both were delicious as they contained my newest favourite condiment and well, Parmesan cheese.

As for the baking side, I bought another variety of the sun dried tomatoes - the dehydrated packaged ones and used them for a Sun Dried Tomato Flatbread. Thinking about it, the last time I made bread was way back in...April! I was sure excited about making this, and I thought the dough wouldn't be hard to handle, but unfortunately, the dough was super sticky and I had to add around a whole extra cup of flour to get the dough firm enough for me to even knead it.

So, when the kneading was done (which took a while, but I'm not complaining - the action of kneading is just so relaxing and allows me to punch, whack and tear it as much as I want) I let it rise (which took a while too, because I forgot to preheat the oven to create the 'warm environment' for the yeast to do its thing) and finally, it was done and the whole flat smelled heavenly! I pulled it out of the oven just to find that the sun dried tomato pieces I placed on top were burnt. But fortunately, it didn't stick down, so I picked them off, resulting in the ugly surface. I immediately cut off a bit to try, and it was so good.

So taste wise, it didn't disappoint! The mildly sweet tomato pieces in the bread was a great contrast to the crunchy sea salt on the surface, and the dried basil really rounds the whole thing off with a lovely, mellow, Italian flavour. And the texture is something between a thick crust pizza and bread, but slightly crunchy crust is definitely the best bit!

I still have a few dried tomatoes left, so I think I'm going to make more bread with them too - maybe some tomato buns. Since I'm on Challenge Week and half term holiday (which means no school for two weeks, but nonetheless, a heap of work to be done), hopefully I can set aside more time to bake and update this space more!

Sun Dried Tomato Flatbread
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, via Evan's Kitchen Ramblings

2 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
2 1/2 cups plain flour (I had to add almost an extra cup of flour)
1 tsp table salt
1 tbsp olive oil + extra for brushing (I used the oil from the jar of oil soaked sundried tomatoes)
1/2 cup/1 oz sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and snipped into small pieces
sea salt, for topping
dried basil, for topping

1. Place the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 mins or until bubbles appear on the surface.
2. Place the flour, salt, tomato pieces, oil and yeast mixture in a bowl and mix until a smooth dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface or a standmixer fitted with a dough hook for 5 mins or until smooth & elastic. (I kneaded by hand, took around 20 minutes and adding extra flour to get it to the right consistency)
3. Place dough in an well-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 mins or until doubled in size. Punch dough down to release air. Press dough in baking tray, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and dried basil. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 15 mins or until golden.

7 Responses to “Sun Dried Tomatoes - Pastas and Flatbread”

YT said...

Aw, no foccacia. Focaccia? Can't spell... Looks delicious all the same.

I just realised I haven't commented since, well, May.

haleysuzanne said...

What a beautiful bread! It looks delicious. I can't wait to bake this.

Anderburf said...

This looks really good! I just got some Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I think it will be delicious sprinkled on this bread. Thanks for sharing!

hey, glad u like the recipe, i did :) thought it tasted like pan pizza's base for mine so in future if i make this again i'm gonna make it thinner so it'll be crispier. i love sundried tomatoes too and i think i'm gonna try out your version some day!

oh and i was eyeing on yr macha & chocolate snowballs for the longest time, gonna make them soon. there's something very intriguing about the way you rolled them, so evenly and uniformed.

(Ros)Marina said...

Hey, do you know about it?
http://kochtopf.twoday.net/stories/announcing-world-bread-day-2009-yes-we-bake/
You made me laugh bout sundried tomato: my parents are from Sicily, so our relatives send us really often some jars of fresh homemade sun dried tomatoes. For me it's absolutely normal to find them on my kitchen table everyday. On the other hand, in Italy it's really difficult to find matcha tea, glutinous rice flour, black sesame. Thinking you have the right opposite problem it's quite funny ^_^

boneko78 said...

Hi it's the first time i leave a comment here. I accidently found your blog when i was trying to find the Serradura recipe to a friend of mine, although i'm Portuguese i have no idea about hot to make this dessert. Anyway, for a 16-year girl, i'm really impressed with your work, so keep going on. Maybe next time i come to HK, you'll be available to share some of your chinese recipes with me, hehehe 加油

It sounds as though sun dried tomatoes won you over! I enjoy eating them as snacks and haven't yet gotten around to cooking with them. On the other hand, I make my own "sun dried" tomatoes by dehydrating them in my food dryer. You can also dry them in an oven set on very low heat.

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