Tomato soup with a crisp, buttery grilled cheese sandwich has always been one of my favorite lunch combinations. True comfort food; a staple of the 60s. As strange as this may sound, I rolled the two flavors into one light, fluffy, killer loaf of bread. It’s tasty eaten plain, incredible toasted, and absolutely over the top when it’s grilled, with even more cheese. (After all, fall is here and big sweaters are back. Eat the cheese and pull the sweater down a little more. No one will notice, and I won’t tell.)
The tomato flavor is distinct, yet subtle. I experimented, using tomato soup (reconstituted from condensed) in one batch and spicy tomato vegetable juice in the other. The vegetable juice won the taste test hands down. I didn’t detect any heat from the spicy juice, but surprisingly it had more tomato tang than the soup.
Butter and sharp cheddar cheese add another layer of flavor. I used lots of grated cheese in this bread, but it was even better when I added some chopped chunks to the dough to create little gooey pockets. (Optional, of course.)
It’s so simple to make, it really is! And apparently the acid in the tomato juice gives it that fluffy, even texture—something that’s important in a sandwich bread. Wow, it slices up nicely.
|Tomato Soup and Sandwich Bread|| |
- 1 cup tomato vegetable juice (I used the spicy variety)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup very warm water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 package active-dry yeast
- 3¼ - 3½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried basil (or to taste)
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Additional chopped cheese, up to ½ cup (optional)
- Lightly grease (or use baking spray) a large bread pan. This makes a tall loaf of bread, so if your pan is on the small side, you may want to make a turn ¼ of the dough into a small personal-size round loaf or a couple of rolls. Form them on a small baking sheet. (Baking time will be shorter.)
- Heat tomato juice and butter together on low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to lukewarm.
- In a small bowl combine warm water , sugar, and yeast. Let it sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
- Put lukewarm tomato mixture into a large bowl. (A stand mixer with dough hook is recommended.)
- Add yeast mixture, 3 cups bread flour, salt, and basil. Beat for 1 minute. Slowly add enough of the remaining flour to make dough come cleanly away from the side of the bowl. Dough will be soft and slightly tacky, but should not be sticky. Knead by machine for 5 minutes, or by hand on a lightly floured board for 7 minutes.
- Knead in the cheese. Form a ball with the dough and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double - about 1 hour.
- Once risen, form into a loaf and place in prepared bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled - about 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 F. Bake bread in center of oven for approximately 45 minutes. Top will feel very firm and bread will sound hollow when turned out of pan and thumped on the bottom. Allow bread to cool before cutting.
This is wonderful toasted, but The Man and I took it one step further. He had a patty melt . . .
. . . and I had a grilled cheese.
Happy fall! Stay warm and cozy . . . and bake some bread.