Tomato Baguettes

3 cups unbleached flour plus 1/2 cup extra flour for your counter
1 teaspoon plus a half of active, dry yeast
1 cup plus 1/2 cup of warm (to the touch), water
One tablespoon olive oil
One teaspoon salt

This basic bread dough is something I use all the time.  Whether for focaccia or pizza dough, simple baguettes or Panella bread, you will never forget such a great combination of ingredients.  The Italian kitchen is quite versatile, that is all you need to remember. The secret to successful breads is always in the rise.  The length of time the dough is resting and working to create a tasty end result.
The night before you plan on making these baguettes, combine your yeast and 1/2 cup water. This is a "no Knead method" that requires very little work.  Don't be alarmed.  Just follow these directions. I have been around bread making all of my life, and there is nothing complicated about it.  Just takes patience.  You will be glad you made some in the end and will be making it often.
If you are using a food processor, or by hand, this takes minimal effort.  After about 10 minutes, add your remaining water, flour olive oil and salt and pulse until you have a sticky combination of ingredients.  I did this by hand.  Using your hand, combine your ingredients.  Lets rest in an oiled bowl for 10-12 hours in a warm place.  Preferably inside a dark cabinet, covered, until the morning.
After about 10-12 hours, you will notice a sticky, risen dough.  Remove with your hands onto the counter and knead just once or twice into a ball.

Let rest another hour covered with plastic wrap.  It will look somewhat sticky.
Remove from bowl and cut in half with a pastry cutter or knife.  Shape carefully into a log and loosely cover with plastic. 

Shape into your pan.  They will continue to rise. 

Gently lift and place your risen baguettes into the pan.  Slice your Roma Tomato thin.  Let rest in the baguette pan another 30 minutes. Press your tomato slices directly into your bread.  Press down firmly.  (I did not and my tomato slices are somewhat elevated). 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees/bake
When your oven is heated (15 minutes later), your baguettes should be plump and ready for the oven.  If you like, brush them with olive oil.  Do not worry if your dough looks like it's bubbly in places.  It is still rising.  Place in your oven for 45 minutes.  Your baguettes should be golden and slightly browned.  Remove them from the oven and let cool.  You will here the crackling noises of a freshly baked loaf of bread.  Buon appetito. It will be hard to resist.  Serve some sliced along with a salad.  A perfect light lunch.


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