I love Panera and Paradise Bakery (as a side note, have you ever noticed how similar those two places are? It’s uncanny). I always get the same thing when I go. I get the “you pick two” with the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich and mac & cheese. OK, maybe not always the same thing, sometimes I get tomato soup if I’m trying to be healthy instead of the mac & cheese. The sandwich, I always get. It’s amazing and the best part is the tomato basil bread. It’s amazing. It’s sort of sweet and very flavorful. Through looking at many copycat recipes and the ingredient list for the bread I found at Panera, I have created my own attempt at a copycat tomato basil bread recipe.
This recipe is delicious. As with all copycat recipes, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close. I think that it would be interesting to try to use real tomatoes instead of tomato paste (all I seem to ever have is tomato paste) and see if it gets closer. Until then, this bread is will definitely satisfy your cravings for Panera or Paradise Bakery.
2-1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp dried basil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1-1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red peppers
2-1/2 cups flour plus extra for sprinkling
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 35-40 minutes
Servings: 1-15″ round loaf (8 slices)
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Once dissolved, add all the other ingredients except for 1/2 cup of flour. Mix well. Add more flour as needed. Once you have a ball of dough that is not too sticky and fairly stiff, place it on a floured surface and knead until you can insert 2 fingers on the back of the dough and have the indentations stay. A useful kneading video can be found here (your dough will be stiffer than the dough shown in the video).
Once you are done kneading, place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour. Knock back and turn out onto an oiled baking sheet. Let rise for 1 hour more. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once the dough is done rising, slice an X onto the top of the dough. Then place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The dough is complete when the bottom makes a hollow noise when you knock on it. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing. Serve immediately and don’t forget to go for second helpings!