Copycat Panera Tomato Basil Bread

My kids love getting Panera as a special treat.  My eldest has a standing order for their turkey bacon bravo sandwich, which is made with their tomato basil bread, along with a blueberry peach smoothie.  The bread is a nice, typically soft sandwich loaf slice with a slightly sweet coating on the crust.  I tried a number of different recipes before finding a version that passes muster for the kiddo.  It makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches, which is invariably what we use it for at home.  I always keep a loaf of this on hand, pre-sliced, and bagged up in the freezer for when we need it.

Tomato Basil Sandwich Bread
Makes 1 8x4" loaf

400g All purpose or bread flour - 3 cups
212g water - ¾ cup + 3 tbsp
1¼ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sugar or golden syrup
3 tbsp tomato paste
1½ tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or ½ tbsp dried)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
½ tsp water (if necessary to thin)

Combine the yeast, water, and golden syrup or sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let sit for a few minutes until foamy.  Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Let the dough rest, covered, until double in size, 60-90 minutes.  Meanwhile make the glaze.  The glaze is optional but necessary if you are going for the Panera style loaf, and really quite good regardless.  Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and thin to a consistency that is easily spread with a pastry brush.

Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a work surface and form into a loaf to fit an 8x4" loaf pan.  Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Once the loaf has crested the edges of the pan, gently brush the top evenly with the glaze.

Bake at 375ºF for 25-35 minutes, until the loaf is fully baked and golden.  Internal temperature should be around 200ºF.  Let cool fully before slicing.  This bread makes great sandwiches!

Made and enjoyed often...