Makes 1 Loaf
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs fresh oregano thyme, minced
1 Tbs sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (110°)
¾ lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed (about 1½ cups of puree)
2 tsp salt
3½ to 4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs water, to glaze
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir, cooking until garlic is soft, but not browned. Stir in oregano thyme and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, sprinkle ½ tsp sugar and yeast over warm water. Stir until yeast dissolves. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand until yeast foams, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic-thyme mixture, tomato puree and remaining sugar.
Combine salt and flour. Add flour, one cup at a time, and blend until dough is smooth and cleans the sides of bowl. Turn out onto floured breadboard and knead until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to the board.
Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil and place dough in prepared bowl. Turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand in a warm, draft-free area until dough doubles in volume, about 1½ to 2 hours.
Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Knead for three minutes. Shape dough into a large, smooth round and flatten slightly.
Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal and place dough on cornmeal. Cover with a clean cloth and return to a warm, draft-free area until the loaf has almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°, positioning rack in center of oven.
Brush loaf with egg glaze and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 ° and continue baking for 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped and has a deep orange color. If loaf browns too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.
Cool on a rack and serve slightly warm.
Gilbertie, Sal. Kitchen Herbs: The Art and Enjoyment of Growing Herbs and Cooking with Them: New York, Bantam Books, 1988.