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Vegetable Bread

I've had this book Breads:  Step-by-Step Techniques for a long time.  It is such a great book. It's so old you can only buy it used.  Mine was in such bad shape that I pulled the pages out, since half were falling out, and put them in plastic sleeves and into a binder.  It has some of the best recipes in it. I think I've made almost every recipe in it.  This is one of that I go back to time and time again. It's just such a different type of bread.

Vegetable Bread (Adapted from Breads: Step-by-Step Techniques)

1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 t)
1/4 c warm water
2 T sugar
1/2 c warm milk
1 egg
4 T butter softened
12 oz tomato paste
1 T dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1 t nutmeg
1 t salt
approx 5 1/2 c flour

Dissolve sugar into warm water. Add yeast and set aside for about 15 minutes or until bubbly. In a bowl place the next 8 ingredients and 3 cups of flour.  Stir in yeast. Add additional flour and mix well.  Knead until soft and smooth but slightly sticky.  Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled - about 1 hour.  Deflate dough and divide in half.  Free form dough into two loaves and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled - about 45 minutes.  Slash tops and bake for 35 minutes at 350 or until browned.

Instead of free-forming the loaves, I used these canape bread forms from King Arthur Flour. They make a nice base for appetizers. They made the 3 molds and a mini loaf.  You grease the tubes (which is a little difficult-especially the star one) and form the dough into a rope a little shorter in length than the mold. Then you place it in the tube. After it doubles, you put the caps on the end and bake. Once the bread is done, you cross your fingers and hope that they push out of the form. They don't look too attractive but once you trim off the ends you can see their shapes. But they went into the freezer for Easter so you can't see them now.

This bread makes THE ABSOLUTE BEST grilled cheese sandwiches. They are so flavorful.

Variation:  You can also use spinach. Use about 3lbs of fresh spinach and saute in pan until wilted. Squeeze excess water out. You can also use 1lb of frozen instead - defrosted with the water squeezed out. Season with only the nutmeg and oregano.

Variation:  You can make 2 different loaves by halving the vegetable additives. Place the spinach in one bowl and the tomato paste with herbs in another. Divide the dough in half after you add the 3 cups of flour and knead vegetables into the dough. There's also no reason why you couldn't use any vegetable.  The recipe suggested carrots, beets, and potatoes.  I've only made the spinach and tomato and have been real happy with those. I've made potato bread using a different recipe.


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