… with Garlic and Rosemary.

Ever since we moved to the middle of nowhere a few years ago, we’ve been baking bread at least once or twice a week. That’s ‘cos in this land of plenty, buying ONE loaf of natural crusty wholegrain bread is a huge project.

Albertson’s which is close to our home, stocks bread that’s old. Very old. Hardly anyone goes to that store and things gestate on the shelf for days.

Then there’s our co-op. It takes us five to 10 minutes sometimes at the tail end of grocery shopping to go down the bread aisle reading all the labels. Most of their freshly baked loaves are made of white (refined) flour. Or reek of cinnamon. Or are laden with crap – like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats and preservatives. The lovely gourmet bakery is a 20-mile round trip. And we need one loaf – not three as they sell at Costco.

You know you live in a sucky place when the two or three types of bread you can tolerate AND access easily are all at the sweatshop.

We actually step in there sometimes. Oh, the indignity of being part of the hoi polloi!!! Now before one of you launches into how Hell-Mart tortures little kids in Vietnam, the closest fartsy place like Whole Foods is 500 miles from our home. (We’ve been to Whole Foods when we lived in the midst of ‘civilization’ and weren’t too impressed. Trader Joe was our grocery destination of choice.)

And there’s the sourdough starter in our fridge.

Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads, from where we made the starter, comes with military-style instructions on how
- the starter must be used within three days for baking as it loses its gluten strength thereafter
- it must be replenished within a week
- there’s a special procedure to replenish starter that has been around for two weeks
- old starter can herald various doomsday scenarios.

Dude, you think we don’t have much to do besides coddle the stupid starter? And you think we’re made of flour? What’s the deal with adding 10-something ounces of flour to it each time and throwing away everything but a little bit for the next batch of starter?

We just give it the stink eye and ask it to go ahead and die already, but it lives on.

We’re assuming that these instructions are for those who treat their starter like virtual pets. Have you read the shyte about feeding a mock fish? You log in everyday to this site (or this or this) and

In this world it is vital to create your own Fish … that will need your care and attention! You will need to give food, take care, play with him and help your Fish fight other opponents that may appear. Make your Fish your best pal and have fun!!!

Yeah, sure. When we’re bored out of our brains, feeding The Fish and fantasizing about ‘him’ going potty are the obvious and natural things to do.

So where were we? Sourdough starter. We’re not into watching the bodily functions of, feeding often, or playing with sourdough starter. We just attend to it when we remember, which is once a week. Or two. Or three. And we add the ‘throwaway’ bits to anything we’re making at that moment – pancakes, flatbreads or loaves. It lends everything it encounters a lovely, distinctive flavour.

That’s how this bread came about. It’s way easier and more delicious than any store-bought loaf where we live. You don’t even need sourdough starter for this.

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sun-drying tomatoes in season is quite simple. Store-bought sun-dried tomatoes are often treated with sulphur dioxide to retain their colour. HERE’S HOW you can do it naturally – in the sun, or food dehydrator or an oven.


** If you do not have sourdough starter, use 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour plus 5 tablespoons water plus 1/4 tsp active dry yeast. Mix and let it sit covered, unrefrigerated for 8 hours.

(8 medium or 6 large rolls)

1 cup stiff sourdough starter
**same hydration as final dough – about 240 grams
2 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
0.5 cups finely ground whole grain cornmeal (or semolina)
0.5 cups dark rye flour (or whole wheat flour)
2 cups warm water
2.25 tsps active dry yeast
2 tsps vital gluten
2.5 tsps salt
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary, or 1 tsp dry (or herb of choice)
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

You can used oil packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained), or dry. We use dry. (Oil-packed products carry the risk of botulism). If using dry, soak 1 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (we use kitchen scissors) in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes, along with 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil, some dried herbs, and 1 clove of chopped garlic. We added it to the recipe along with the liquid.

1. Add the salt to the mixing bowl or bread machine bowl, then add the water, flours, remaining ingredients, with the yeast on top.

2. Knead for 6-8 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic ball of dough. If it is too dry, add 1 tbsp. water at a time. If it is too wet, add 1 tbsp. flour at a time.

3. Put it in a large bowl, cover the bowl with a plate, or oiled cling wrap, and keep it in a warm place until doubled in quantity. (one to 1.5 hours)

4. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal/semolina or line with parchment.

5. Punch the dough down gently, knead it a bit, divide it into 6 or 8 parts, depending on how big you like the rolls.

6. Roll each piece into a ball, then put a drop of water on the surface and roll it really well on the damp surface, cupping your palm, into tight balls. The dampness generates friction.

7. Place the balls on a baking sheet, press then down very lightly, and cover them with a floured tea towel. Let them rise again in a warm place until almost doubled (about 30 minutes).

8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F. Keep one rack in the middle and an empty metal (not non-stick) baking sheet or pan on the top rack.

9. When the oven is ready, put 1/2 cup hot water in the empty container on top. It will generate immediate steam, so be careful.

10. Lower the heat to 400 F. Bake the breads for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in them comes out clean.

11. Cool them on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Sourdough Sun-Dried Tomato Rolls go to Aparna @ My Diverse Kitchen for BreadBakingDay, where the theme is Small Breads

And to Susan for YeastSpotting (check out the awesome outdoor brick oven she’s building).

- Bee and Jai

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  1. sam says:

    recipe link for the sun dried tomatos are not found.

  2. kalva says:

    Wow… lovely J n B… Love those rolls… bet they tasted great.. As usual lovely pics!!

  3. Priya says:

    The combo sounds great! I have only recently started making decent bread. hmm, have a few Q’s will send you an email, the comment got too long :D

  4. Rachna says:

    i need to dig into that bun…hmmmm …

  5. OhioMom says:

    Oh my I haven’t baked bread since the “heat” of summer started, but I have to try this one. I am drooling and laughing about the starter, mine gets ignored, and also will not die :)

  6. Dee says:

    I love the sun dried tomatoes bee.. and these in a bread seems all the more appealing to me :)

  7. Padma says:

    I love the combination of flavors that are going into this bread, looks awesome!

  8. nags says:

    That’s such a lovely slice of bread. I hate store-bought bread too but i just don’t have the time (or maybe energy) to bake bread. I should probably start doing it anyway..

  9. Cham says:

    An aromatic bread, probably never tasted one :) Awesome!

  10. Oh, I never thought of actually drying sun dried tomatoes in, you know, the sun. What a concept! Thanks for sending these lovely rolls to YeastSpotting.

  11. lakshmi says:

    I hated bread till I got around to baking bread at home. There’s a French Bakery near our place – the bread is inedible. I felt like I was tearing away bits of meat, not eating bread!!! Yet another new bakery that has opened in Chennai, sells strange tasting things in the name of healthy bread, brownies, carrot cake and what not. I tell you people like this are entirely responsible for the popular notion that healthy food is not tasty!!!

    There’s only one decent bakery I know of in Chennai – a place called The Fresh Loaf a few kms from our house that has really good rye bread and yet its not awesome enough to motivate me to and go and buy once a week.

    So I bake bread once in a week (my new found obsession according to my husband). And I know exactly what goes in! Almost every recipe I’ve tried, I’ve made the subsequently with whole wheat atta flour (full or 50%) – takes more time to rise but holds up much better, stays fresh longer and has a much better flavour.

    I will definitely try this recipe – I am still searching for vital gluten.

  12. manggy says:

    Oh no!!! The bread situation sounds horrible, totally not what I was expecting. At least here, even if we have our boring reliables, they don’t have HFCS in them. Yeek. And thank you for enumerating everything that has discouraged me from making a starter :P (by the way: three loaves at a time? Do they have magical non-staling, non-molding powers?)
    But if you’re able to make bread as delicious as that weekly, we can forget about all those other places. Looks great!

    in a big city in the u.s., or even in some smaller towns, good breads are not hard to find. those are rolls, manggy. close-up they look much bigger.

  13. Pelicano says:

    Homemade breads are a far-better choice indeed! And you two make beautiful ones. Every time. [grumble]

    I don’t think there is a need to worry about botulism from sun-dried tomatoes in oil; the acidity of plain, canned tomatoes is generally high enough (though it is now recommended to add 1/8-1/4 t citric acid to be sure); when tomatoes are dehydrated, the acidity becomes concentrated: and that is not hospitable to the anaerobes…after all, that bitter melon pickle sat around for a year at room temp before you two ever attacked (and subsequently refrigerated) it! :-D (lime juice)

    But no, not so with garlic…I think the plain garlic-in-oil picklers could learn a bit from the subcontinent: needs an acid; some turmeric or ginger to keep the oil from going rancid.

    that’s good to know. how do you know so much about everything, dear pel? you should write a book about food science.

  14. Nirmala says:

    The rolls looks delicious! Bread with tomato is new to me. And thats a good reason for baking bread at home often. For a south indian family like us, idlis are the best everyday breakfast and dinner.

  15. Alka says:

    This Sun drying thing made me nostalgic about so many memories of childhood.As kids we had the energy and enthusiasm to spread-flip-spread -flip,papads,potato wafers,kachris( flavored rice dumplings sundried ),Khheecha(rice pancakes sort of )raw mangoes(for pickles).We actually enjoyed this summer vacation FUN,while mother dear and aunts wud cook ricem flour we use to anxiously wait to see TRANSFORMATION of that gooey flour into dumplings and chaklis(flour was passed thru a churner type mould,and moving the knob in circular motion wud produce circular shape chaklis,which were then sundried and stored to be consumed in approaching monsoon.Wow those golden days;-)
    Sorry i got carried away…and sorry for taking too much footage here

  16. Arundathi says:

    I’m still looking for vital gluten too.
    Virtual pets? What’s the point? Why not just have a virtual “life” and live in a chair attached to a computer!

  17. Lakshmi says:

    I just enjoyed the feeling of eating that bread virtually :D me too thinking where to buy vital gluten..any alternatives ?? u suggest?

    no substitutes. just use more all purpose flour and less of the whole grain flours. or leave it out.

  18. Aparna says:

    Your rolls look so good that I’ve decided to make my own sun-dried tomatoes (once the monsoon is over).
    I’ve not ventured towards anything sourdough for the very reason you’ve mentioned. But your starter seems like a delightful thing, obstinate with a never-say-die attitude!
    So maybe I’ll try nurturing one too. Who knows, it may come to love me.:)
    Thanks for participating in BBD.

  19. [...] Sourdough Sun-dried Tomato Rolls ~ jugalbandi [...]

  20. PG says:

    The rolls look so good! This is such a wonderful recipe! A lovely combination. I love dried tomatoes and use them a lot. My efforts to make soft whole wheat or rye breads and buns have not been as successful until now, not that i have tried it as often, although i never used a sourdough starter. Maybe I have to try the readymade starter I can buy here. Don’t know if it is as good as yours.

  21. shilpa says:

    Jugalbandits Rock :) . I love this bread. Every time I come here, I feel so bad for using store bought things :( . I use store bought sun dried tomatoes and also store bought bread. Though I have started making some bread these days. You are big inspiration. Thanks to you both.

  22. Laavanya says:

    Oh I love sourdough bread and all the additions you’ve added in are my favorites too – this must be absolutely delectable.

  23. Priya says:

    Add couple of tablespoons of ground flax seeds to the bread next time. It gives unique flavour to bread and the fiber too.

    The rolls look delicious.

  24. oh, those rolls look soooo delicious!!!! Love the pic. I wonder if i’ll ever get myself to bake something decent….

  25. Meg Wolff says:

    Great quote. True.

  26. Meg Wolff says:

    Wonderful post. Where DO you live?? :-) Your bread looks ans sounds heavenly … bet it tastes that way too.

  27. raj says:

    Homemade such lovely bread. No more store bread.

  28. farida says:

    No store brought bread can beat a homemade one. THat’s what I think:) I usually bake yeast breads and never tried baking with sourdough starter although have been intending to do so for quite a long time:) Not sure what’s holding me back:) The bread looks so delicious. I love the combination of ingredients you used. Sundried tomatoes must have added a nice touch.

  29. enjay says:

    This looks Good. My sister has baked bread for a long time…I developed a taste for good bread, had all the recipes, but started baking only after I started reading your blog.


  30. Smita says:

    Genius recipe – I felt the same way about “feeding” sourdough starter :-(


  31. Pelicano says:

    Food science interests me, yes… but it’s a totally selfish, fluctuating passion driven by fear: what if, suddenly, we were left without modern conveniences? So, you see, I do nothing more than collect cast-offs that I think are useful.

  32. Johanna says:

    I hope the more I read about sourdough, the less intimidating I will find it. This post is definitely helpful to see how relaxed you are about it – I am lucky to have some good bakeries nearby but none of them do these lovely sundried tomato rolls

  33. Anita says:

    Wow – those rolls are to die for! Please tell me those are home grown tomatoes and that you are not so lucky as to get that (fresh) kind of produce where you live.

    our tomatoes aren’t ripe yet.

  34. Mansi says:

    these look gorgeous! I love sun-dried tomatoes, so I know I’m gonna love this sourdough bread!:)

  35. Kay says:

    Ah! Another beautiful bread.

    Silly question here – why do you use sourdough starter and active dry yeast?? Both does the same thing, right??

    no, they don’t do the same thing. sourdough also adds flavour.

  36. Jude says:

    I’ve found my starters to be really resilient. It’s gone a month in my refrigerator without feeding and it’s still alive. I’ve never followed a feeding schedule at all.

  37. purplesque says:

    Oh, you wonderful people. Sourdough starter. Sundried tomatoes. Under three hours. You make me dizzy with happiness.

  38. [...] sourdough bread with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and rosemary. Followed this excellent recipe from Jugalbandi. Improvised a bit here and there. The rolls turned out okay for a first attempt. Paired them with a [...]

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