Tri-Color Lemon Basil Tomato Bread

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Recipes in this PostFinished Bread

I used to make bread every week when I was Chef Farion‘s roommate, simply because he liked to have bread with his meal. I’m not that much of a bread person, seeing that at the time of this writing, I had to make a new category for bread. Well, today that is going to change.

My wonderful neighbor gave me some Lemon Basil this morning, I looked at it and said to myself, “Yes, you are going to put this in bread!” Then I thought that tomato goes so well with basil, and I have tube of tomato paste in the refrigerator. I am going to make three doughs, one with basil, one with tomato paste, and one with roasted garlic. Then I am going to braid them together, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and throw it in the oven. I think it will be good. We will see!

I like making bread for a few reasons:

  1. I know what’s going into it.
  2. Kneading is a good way to relieve stress. Take out your aggression on the dough!
  3. The wonderful smell of bread baking is second to none.
  4. Finished bread gives you the feeling of a job well done.
    Spane holding dough
    Spane examining “Caesar” the tomato paste dough ball
  5. Bread is a great science project for kids. Kids can learn about yeast, and how the yeast is alive and how it makes the bread. If you are lucky, like I was, your child may volunteer to do some of the kneading for you. Spane was so happy to do it that he even named the tomato dough, “Caesar”.
  6. Recipe: Tri-Color Lemon Basil Tomato Bread

    Mis en Place
    Mis En Place


    • 2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
    • 1 1/8 cups Water
    • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
    • 4 cups Bread Flour
    • 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar
    • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
    • 1/4 cup Lemon Basil, chopped finely
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 4 roasted garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tablespoon Corn Meal
    • 1 egg mixed with a little water
    • Sesame seeds


    1. Proof yeast by dissolving in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of warm (115-120 degrees) water. Let stand for 5 minutes. If the yeast is not bubbling, it is dead. Throw it away, buy some more and start over.
    2. Add 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a cup of luke-warm water to proof. Let sit for a half an hour to create a sponge.
      Live Yeast in Water
      It’s Alive!
      Proofed Batter
      Proofed Batter
    3. Add the rest of the flour and water and knead, adding more flour or water as needed, until the dough is “as soft as a baby’s bottom”.
      Kneaded Dough
      Kneaded Dough
    4. Separate the dough into three balls. Knead the basil into one ball, the tomato paste into another, and the garlic cloves in the last.
      Three Doughs
      Three Doughs
      Basil Dough
      Basil Dough
      Tomato Dough
      Tomato Dough

      Garlic Dough
      Garlic Dough
    5. Put oil into a separate bowl.
    6. Coat the dough balls with oil in the bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
      Dough Doubled in Size
      Dough Doubled in Size
    7. Make finger marks in the dough (like you were going to poke someone’s eyes out). If the dough does not come back, it is ready to punch down and knead lightly in the bowl.
    8. Cover and let rise a second time.
      Second Rising
      Second Rising
    9. Heat the oven to 450.
    10. Shape the dough balls into three long ropes. Braid the ropes into a long loaf.
      Braided Dough
      Braided Dough
    11. Move the loaf to a cookie sheet sprinkled liberally with corn meal.
    12. Using a pasty brush, brush the loaf with the egg wash, then sprinkle sesame seeds over all.
      Sesame Seeds
      Sesame Seeds
    13. Let the loaf rise a third time until doubled in bulk.
    14. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the loaves are deep golden and sound hollow when tapped.
    15. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.
      Finished Bread
      Finished Bread

    Quick notes

    Serve with unsalted butter and a bowl of good soup.



    You can use any type of basil or other fresh herb you like.

    Preparation time: 4 hour(s)

    Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

    Diet type: Vegetarian

    Number of servings (yield): 6

    Culinary tradition: French

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.

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