It’s been a long time since I made bread and I the other day I got that itch! This time I decided to whip up a batch of my (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce and mix it with the fresh dough bits to create an ultra flavorful Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread. This bread would be a treat when served with any dinner, but I also think it makes a nice appetizer. Serve it with a little marinara for dipping and dig in!
Cheese it Up!
I did use a little Parmesan to make the bread more savory, but you can get even cheesier and add some shredded mozzarella to transform it into a pizza-like pull apart bread! Just toss in a cup or so of shredded mozzarella when you’re mixing the sauce and dough together, so the mozzarella shreds get in the nooks and crannies as the bread rises and bakes.
Semi-homemade Tomato Herb Pul Apart Bread Shortcut
Not into making bread from scratch? You can still make this recipe! Simply buy a ball of pre-made pizza dough or a loaf of frozen bread dough, let it thaw, cut it into small pieces, and proceed from there. That’s the way we used to do it when I was growing up, but I felt like doing it from scratch today!
Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread
(NOT) SUN DRIED TOMATO SAUCE
- 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.42)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.03)
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary ($0.03)
- Pinch red pepper flakes ( $0.02)
- 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 3 oz. (5 Tbsp) tomato paste ($0.33)
- 1/2 tsp honey ($0.02)
- Prepare the tomato sauce first, so that it has time to cool. In a small skillet combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper, cracked pepper, and salt. Heat the oil and herbs over medium-low for 2-3 minutes to gently infuse the oil with flavor. It’s okay for the herbs to sizzle, but do not let them burn.
- Add the tomato paste and honey to the skillet. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste becomes a deep red color. The tomato paste and oil will not create a smooth sauce, but will stay fairly separated. Let the sauce cool.
- While the sauce is cooling, stir the yeast and sugar into one cup of warm water. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it develops a thick layer of foam on top.
- In a large bowl, stir together one cup of the flour with the salt. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Continue to add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to the bowl until it forms a sticky ball of dough that you can no longer stir with a spoon.
- Liberally dust a clean work surface with flour and transfer the sticky dough from the bowl to the work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, slowly adding more flour as you go, until a smooth ball of dough has formed and you’ve used about 3 cups of flour total (from beginning to end). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut the dough into 1-inch chunks. Place the cut dough into a clean bowl, add the cooled tomato sauce, and grated Parmesan. Toss the dough pieces in the sauce and cheese until everything is evenly coated. If the dough pieces stick together before they get coated in the sauce, simply pull them apart.
- Coat a 9-inch pie plate or bread loaf pan with non-stick spray. Place the sauce coated bread pieces in the prepared dish. Cover loosely with plastic and let the bread rise for one hour, or until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the bread for 23-25 minutes, or until the top has darkened slightly and the bread sounds hollow when tapped with your finger. Let the bread cool slightly, then serve.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread – Step by Step Photos
Start by making the (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce so that it has time to cool. I used slightly less olive oil for the sauce this time because I didn’t feel like it needed as much for this application. Begin with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes, some freshly cracked pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a skillet. Heat over medium-low flame for about 3 minutes to infuse the oil. It’s okay for the spices to sizzle a bit, but don’t let them burn.
Add 3 oz. tomato paste (that’s just half of a 6oz. can, or about 5 Tbsp), and 1/2 tsp honey. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
The oil and tomato paste will not form a smooth sauce. Watch for the tomato paste to take on a deep, dark red color. Let the sauce cool as you prepare the dough.
Combine 1 cup warm water with 2 tsp active dry yeast (or one of those 1/4oz. yeast packets) and 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve, then let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it develops a thick layer of foam on top.
In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms.
Continue to add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a sticky ball of dough that you can no longer stir with a spoon (I think it was about 2 cups total before I could no longer stir).
Liberally dust a clean work surface with flour, then transfer the sticky dough from the bowl to the work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as you go. After five minutes, you should have a smooth and elastic ball of dough and used about 3 cups of flour (3 cups total from start to finish). Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.
Cut the dough into one-inch pieces.
Add the dough pieces, cooled tomato sauce (with all the oil), and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan to a clean bowl. Toss the dough pieces in the sauce and oil until they’re coated. The dough pieces may stick to each other before they’re fully coated, but you can just pull them apart. Don’t be afraid to pull and stretch the dough. It can handle it.
Coat a 9-inch pie plate or a bread pan with non-stick spray. Transfer the dough pieces to the prepared dish, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
This is the bread after it has risen for one hour (it’s pretty warm here, so bread rises quickly). Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Once the oven has preheated, bake the bread for 23-25 minutes, or until it has darkened on top and it sounds hollow when you tap on the top. Let it cool just a few minutes, then serve the Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread warm. YUM!