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Tomato and Batter Onion Bread

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

2 normal loaves, or 1 very large loaf

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Challenging

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationvegetarian

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner

Moodadventurous

Taste and Texturechewy, savory, sweet

Type of Dishyeast bread

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 large onions
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil, more for the pans
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1½ pounds fresh red tomatoes, scalded and peeled
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, approx.
  • 2 envelopes dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

Put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl with a cup of hot water and leave them to soak for at least ½ hour.

Peel the onions, quarter them lengthwise, and slice them. Heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the onions and a teaspoon of salt. Cook the onions in the oil over medium heat, stirring very often, until they are golden brown all over, then set them aside until needed.

Cut the fresh tomatoes into chunks, working over a bowl so as not to lose their juice. Simmer them in their own juice for 5–10 minutes, just until they are tender and their juice is slightly thickened. You should have 2 cups of chunky sauce. Combine the cooked fresh tomatoes, the soaked sun-dried tomatoes with their water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the short plastic blade, combine the whole wheat flour and 1½ cups of the white flour with the yeast and sugar, and spin briefly to blend. Add the tomatoes and liquid, and process for several seconds at a time, scraping the sides down with a spatula in between, until you have a soft batter. Start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time, and process briefly after each addition. Continue adding flour only until the batter is thick and elastic but not yet stiff: Add the cooked onions and process for a few seconds only.

To prepare the batter by hand, combine the whole wheat flour and 1½ cups of the white flour with the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. Add the tomatoes and liquid and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for several minutes. Add as much of the remaining flour as is needed, a little at a time, beating it in thoroughly each time, until the batter is thick and elastic. You should use almost all the 5 cups of flour. Add the cooked onions and stir them into the batter.

Generously oil two deep-dish pie pans, or one large oblong baking dish, about 9 by 12 inches. Using a large spoon or spatula, scoop the batter out into the prepared pans. It should be thick enough to hold a shape, but softer and stickier than a dough that you would knead. Spread the batter evenly in the pans, and push it into the corners. The surface will remain rough, which is fine.

Cover the pans with plastic wrap and leave the loaves to rise for about 45 minutes. The batter will nearly double in size.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375° oven for 35-40 minutes, or until it is lightly browned on top and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. A thin knife inserted near the middle should come out dry.

Let the bread cool on a rack for a little while, then cut it into wedges or squares to serve.

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