Yesterday, I greeted the morning by lacing up my raspberry red Saucony’s, twisting my hair into a ponytail, and running through the neighborhood for the first time in 3½ months. As the breeze blew across my face and the sun warmed my skin, I smiled at the long-lost but familiar strain in my calves, then laughed aloud at my next thought.
Making bread is a lot like running. You stretch the dough (your muscles) and knead out the knots, let it rise and fill with air (your lungs, as your run), punch it down (the last few strides as you near the end), and bake it in a warm oven (the shower afterwards). Sometimes, you might mix extra goodies into the dough as little surprises (like bits of gravel hidden in the soles of your shoes).
After running, I definitely crave bread, and this one even included my favorite vegetable, bell peppers. It tasted so delicious that I ate ¼ of the whole loaf as my dinner! My excuse? Carbo-loading for my next run.
Roasted Bell Pepper Bread
based on Favorite Low Fat Dishes’ “Savory Bell Pepper Bread”
This bread made my home smell delicious for days! Serve by itself as a satisfying snack, or pair with a simple soup or salad for a simple yet cozy meal.
3 small bell peppers, preferably different colors
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, preferably dry packed (not in oil)
¼ c. boiling water
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
⅔ c. warm water
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
⅔ c. non-fat yogurt
- Preheat the broiler. Halve and seed the peppers, place on a broiler rack, and broil 7-9 min or until the skins are charred. (The more char, the easier to remove the skins!) Place pepper halves in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them sit for 10 min. Once cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and chop the flesh into bite-sized pieces.
- While the peppers broil, julienne the tomatoes (slice into strips), and add the strips and boiling water to a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit.
- Add the yeast and sugar to a small bowl, and dissolve in the warm water. Let sit for 10 min or until frothy.
- Add the flour, 1 tsp rosemary, and 1 tsp salt to a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture. Add in the tomato paste, yogurt, peppers, tomatoes and their soaking liquid. Mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary. Place dough in a clean, dry bowl lightly coated with nonstick spray, and cover with a kitchen towel. Put the bowl in a warm place to rise for 30-40 min.
- On a clean, dry, and floured surface, punch the dough down. Place in a 9” springform pan lightly coated with nonstick spray. Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke indentations into the top of the bread. Cover with a kitchen towel, and allow dough to rise for another 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Lightly mist the top of the dough with nonstick spray, and sprinkle with the remaining salt and rosemary. Bake the bread at 425° for 35-40 min or until the top turns light golden brown. Cool in the pan for 10 min, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.