Hi Everyone, Simply put, a sandwich is two slices of bread with some type of filling encased between the slices. The bread and the filling are the key components of any sandwich but the perfect sandwich is far from simple. Every person you ask about how they like their sandwich will give you a different answer. They have preferences for the type of sandwich (usually identified by the filling or the bread). And those specifications are taken further because the bread is as important as what is sandwiched between – texture, thickness, heft, type (white, whole wheat etc) and hand-feel are equally important. But what I want to talk to you about this week is the flavour of the bread. The flavour of the bread can raise a sandwich even higher.
There are so many different types of grains with which you can make bread and there are equally many types of breads that you can make – artisan, sourdough, baguette and regular white sandwich loaf to name a few. The process of making some of these breads is rather involved. Some require a starter (a pre-fermentation of yeast and flour, sometimes known as mother dough) others need a long, slow fermenting period (overnight), and some need special kinds of flour.
However, the flavoured breads I’m suggesting you try making to elevate your sandwiches do not require longer than the traditional 2-rise, fermentation process for homemade breads. Regular all-purpose flour, yeast and water are your other main ingredients. The flavour comes from the fresh herbs and a store-bought ingredient (homemade if you have).
Hearty, woodsy herbs such as thyme, rosemary and marjoram make excellent flavoured breads, so too do sun-dried tomatoes. The herbs are chopped very finely and mixed into the dry flour. The sun-dried tomatoes are rehydrated in a little warm water and chopped fine; the residual water is then added to the rest of the liquid used for making the dough.
With herb-flavoured breads, not only do sandwiches become extraordinary but something as simple as toast becomes a treat. Dip hunks of the bread into soups and stews and man you’ll have to restrain yourself. For me, just the smell of herb-flavoured bread in the oven during baking takes me to heaven. So good!
I’m not going to give you a bread recipe this week. Instead, what I want you to do is use the bread recipe you generally use when baking your homemade bread. However, what I will share with you is the suggested amount of herbs to add to your mix to make the bread.
It is preferable that you use fresh herbs but if you must use dried herbs, reduce the amount by half because the flavour of dried herbs is generally a little more intense and secondly, and the flavour of dried herbs is not exactly the same as the herbs in their fresh form.
For every 3 ½ cups of flour use 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herb (thyme, rosemary or marjoram). Use ½ tablespoon if using any of these herbs in their dry form. Mix the herbs in to the flour before adding the other ingredients.
To make the bread with sun-dried tomatoes, for every 4 cups of flour, use ¼ cup of finely chopped sundried tomatoes. If the tomatoes are packed in oil, remove several pieces and chop finely to yield ¼ cup; add a couple tablespoons of the oil to the liquid needed to make the dough.
If the tomatoes are packed dry, take several pieces and soak them in one-third cup of hot water for 10 – 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened. Chop the tomatoes finely to yield ¼ cup and add the liquid in which the tomatoes have been rehydrating to the other liquid needed to make the dough.
Mix the tomatoes into the flour just before adding the liquids to make the dough.
Simple enough isn’t it? Try it and let me know what you think.