Pesto bread with tomato water

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This year our tomato plants went crazy. We tried coring and freezing them like we’ve done in years past, but they quickly took over the freezer.  So we’ve been cooking them down and freezing the stewed tomatoes instead, which takes up a quarter of the room of the cored tomatoes.IMG_9626

Yesterday, our pot overflowed and I had to scoop lots of tomato water out.  Mr. Bread Maiden was wondering if it would be possible to use the tomato water in bread.  We thought it would complement my pesto bread, which I baked for last year’s Arlington County Fair.

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I used my typical white bread recipe for the base, Ina Garten’s good white bread.  Where she calls for water and milk, I used the (cooled) tomato water instead.

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After the dough came together, I knead it for a little bit since it has so much yeast, I knew it would rise quickly and I wanted enough gluten formation.  After 15 minutes, I re-shaped it so it would be nice and smooth. Then I covered the bowl and let it rise for two hours outside on my covered porch.IMG_9632

When the dough was ready, I divided it in two halves, one to be shaped into a babka and one to be shaped into a provitica, a shape I’d seen on The Great British Baking Show.

Here’s how I did the babka:

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After rolling up the dough and cinching it shut, I used my pastry scraper to divide it in half and twisted the two halves together to form the pattern you see below.  This is what I did last year for my fair presentation.IMG_9636

For the provitica, I knew I had to roll the dough out way flatter for a bigger sheet.  You can see how I did it:

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Sadly, I got a few tears because I didn’t knead enough.  Next time!IMG_9639IMG_9640IMG_9642

Once the dough is rolled up, coil it in the buttered pan and let rise another 45 minutes or so.  IMG_9643

Brush each dough with egg wash, then bake the doughs in a 375 degree F oven for however long it takes, 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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Pretty happy with how both of these turned out!

Now for the inside of the provitica:

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How beautiful is that??  Worth the effort.

The tomato water added a nice warm hue to the dough, but I would not have noticed it unless I knew it was in there.  Still, I was a little worried because tomato water does not have the same compounds as milk, and I wanted to make sure the yeast was not overwhelmed by the acid.  Clearly, that was not a problem.  I may do this again!

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