Perfecting Your Panera Tomato Basil Bread Recipe at Home

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Last updated on November 30th, 2023

Panera tomato basil bread recipe

Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh, warm bread, straight out of the oven? Now, imagine this sensation combined with the tangy goodness of tomato and the refreshing hint of basil. That’s what you get with Panera’s tomato basil bread. Perfecting an at-home recipe can be a bit tricky, but that is what we are here for. This guide will walk you through the steps of making your own Panera-style tomato basil bread right at your kitchen table!

Decoding the Panera Tomato Basil Bread Recipe

Understanding the recipe is akin to cracking a code. The trick is to read it through once and then gather all your ingredients. It’s pretty much like a jigsaw puzzle – everything starts to fall into place once you have all the pieces. It’s not rocket science, folks. Just good old baking.

Essential Ingredients for the Recipe

Alright folks, let’s get our ducks in a row. Just like most bread recipes, we’ll need a handful of basic pantry items. But for this special Panera Tomato Basil Bread, we’ll be jazzing things up with some extra add-ins.

We’ve got your standard bread flour, fast-action yeast, and the star of the show, a dash of sea salt for that added kick. Now, here comes the twist: we’re gonna throw in some minced garlic and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Forgot to mention, that you’ll need to soak those tomatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes before chopping. Adds an extra punch, trust me! As for the sweet glaze, gather up some brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and olive oil. That’s it, we’re all set.

Ingredients for the Dough

Now onto the dough. The dough is the backbone of any bread recipe, and we all know the backbone’s gotta be strong. As with most bread recipes, the dough here is easy to make with basic ingredients. We’re going with bread flour for that perfect texture and yeast for the rise. Just remember, the quality of your ingredients directly impacts the final product, so choose wisely.

Ingredients for the Topping

In this corner, the topping! This is where we will let the flavors shine. You know, the icing on the cake, or in this case, the glaze on our bread. We’re looking for a blend of sweetness and tanginess, so remember those ingredients we set aside for the glaze earlier? It’s their time to shine!


Alright, let’s talk about substitutions. Sometimes, you’re missing an ingredient or two, but that doesn’t mean you need to abandon ship. Now, when it comes to bread baking, you might’ve heard that some folks recommend spring water. But the truth is, most tap water works just fine. However, if your water is extremely hard or soft, you might want to opt for bottled mineral water. Just avoid icy cold water.

Now, some might wonder, can I substitute tomato paste with tomato sauce? To be honest, it’s not recommended. Tomato sauce has more water content and fewer solids, and both the flavor and color won’t be as vibrant. So, let’s stick to the tomato paste, okay?

And remember, substitutions are just that – substitutes. They might not replicate the exact taste of Panera’s Tomato Basil Bread, but they will help you create a loaf that’s pretty darn close.

Panera Tomato Basil Bread – Preparation Method

Ok, my friend, buckle up. This isn’t no ordinary loaf of bread, but don’t worry, the process isn’t as tough as you might think. Let’s crack on with this recipe and bring you the joy of homemade Panera Tomato Basil Bread.

Step-By-Step Instructions

First off, to get the basics down, we need to dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Now, once it’s dissolved, you’re gonna stir in sugar, salt, olive oil, pepper flakes, and 2 cups of flour. Once you’re done, you’ll see the dough start to come together.

Keep going, adding enough of the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Now, don’t be shy with your flour – if the dough still feels sticky, sprinkle in a little more. Once you’ve mixed in your flour, it’s time for the fun part – kneading. With a touch of flour on your hands, knead for 1 minute or until the dough feels nice and smooth.

After kneading, place that lovely dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. You’re gonna wanna cover this and let it rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in about 1 hour. Once it’s risen, it’s time to get physical folks! Give that dough a good punch to deflate it, then turn it onto a lightly floured surface.

From here, it’s all about the shaping. Shape into a round loaf, place on a greased baking sheet, and let it rise again until doubled. Once risen, bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove it from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Stir in basil halfway through the cooking process and voila! You’ve got yourself a lovely loaf of Panera Tomato Basil Bread.

Some Important Recipe Details

Going by the numbers, the making of Panera Tomato Basil Bread offers up to 12 servings from just one loaf, making it a great bake for large gatherings or for those who want to enjoy a slice of homemade bread every day.

The recipe involves using active dry yeast, a crucial component in bread-making. This little ingredient is responsible for the rising of the dough, giving the bread a lovely, airy texture. Active dry yeast functions best when it is allowed to become foamy in warm water, so be sure to follow this step!

Helpful Tips for First-Time Bakers

Now, for those just getting their hands doughy for the first time, don’t fret. We’ve got a couple of pro tricks up our sleeves to help you out. A little secret is using steam to speed up your dough rise. All you gotta do is put the dough in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water on the shelf beneath it. That gentle steam heat will kickstart the yeast into action, saving you precious time.

Another tip to add to your baking arsenal is the use of dried tomato powder. It heightens the flavor and gives a lovely red tint to your finished bread, making it a sight and taste to relish. Experiment with these tips to enhance your bread-making experience and take your Panera Tomato Basil Bread to the next level.

Mistakes to Avoid When Making Panera Tomato Basil Bread

Now onto what not to do when baking your Panera Tomato Basil Bread. First things first, don’t go using all-purpose flour for this recipe. It just doesn’t have the needed protein content to puff up your loaf just right. And for goodness’ sake, ensure a soft, thin crust, nobody likes a rock-hard bread crust. It’s all about balance!

Also, any seasoned baker will tell you that kneading your dough enough is key. So, if your dough hasn’t passed the windowpane test, it isn’t ready. You knead it to pass the test, literally! Keep these potential pitfalls in mind and avoid ’em like over-proofed dough, and you’ll have on your hands a loaf of Panera Tomato Basil Bread that’s sure to impress.

Wrapping It Up

Alright, folks. Now we’ve got our homemade Panera Tomato Basil Bread all ready to make its debut in the world of deliciousness. This bread isn’t just your run-of-the-mill loaf. It is bursting with Mediterranean flavors like sundried tomatoes and basil, not forgetting that little hint of garlic. Now go ahead and bask in the glory of your bread-making skills. You deserve it.


Panera Tomato Basil Bread

Craving a bread that's a burst of freshness? Look no further! Our Panera Tomato Basil Bread is a perfect fusion of garden-fresh ingredients and artisanal craftsmanship.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Keyword: Panera Tomato Basil Bread
Servings: 12
Author: The Endless Appetite


Essential Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) fast-action yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes)

For the Sweet Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the Dough:

  • Additional bread flour for kneading

For the Topping:

  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped


  • Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in sugar, salt, olive oil, pepper flakes, and 2 cups of flour until the dough starts to come together.
  • Add enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. If sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour.
  • Knead the dough for 1 minute or until smooth.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
  • Punch down the risen dough, turn it onto a floured surface, shape it into a round loaf.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet and let it rise again until doubled.
  • Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Stir in chopped basil halfway through the baking process.
  • Cool on a wire rack.


  • Use steam to speed up the dough rise by placing a pan of boiling water in the oven with the dough.
  • Experiment with dried tomato powder for enhanced flavor and a vibrant red tint.
  • Ensure the yeast becomes foamy in warm water for optimal rising.

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