Enjoy all the delicious flavors of tomatoes, basil, and garlic in one amazing loaf! This copycat Panera tomato basil bread has a beautifully soft texture, thin crust, and a sweet glaze that complements the dough. Whether you're enjoying it fresh or toasted, this bread will definitely be an unforgettable treat alongside a bowl of soup.
Like most bread recipes, this one uses many basic pantry staples. However, some of the mix-ins you may not keep at home, so you might have to run to the grocery store or place an online order.
- Flour: use a good-quality bread flour (affiliate), not all-purpose, for this recipe.
- Yeast: I like to use fast-action yeast, which doesn't need to be bloomed before using.
- Salt: fine table salt is the usual choice for bread.
- Oil: classic olive oil is the best choice for flavor.
- Water: filtered water warmed to 115 F is ideal.
- Spices: dried basil and tomato powder (affiliate) add flavor. The tomato powder is optional, but it does enrich the color and provide an extra depth of flavor. However, you'll probably only be able to order it online.
- Mix-Ins: minced garlic, finely chopped sun dried tomatoes are what we're using. If you're not using the oil-packed tomatoes, make sure to soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes before chopping.
- Sweet Glaze: this takes standard baking staples, like brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and olive oil.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Can you buy tomato basil bread from Panera?
Yes, you can! Right now, a loaf sells for $5.79, but the prices vary depending upon the location. It's probably cheaper to make your own!
Is the tomato basil bread at Panera vegan?
Unfortunately, the Panera version isn't vegan, because the sweet glaze on top contains honey. This copycat version also uses honey in the glaze, but you can easily substitute agave nectar for it.
How many calories are in Panera tomato basil bread?
According to the Panera website, the average slice of their tomato basil bread is 130 calories, 330mg of sodium, 27g of carbs, and 1g of protein. If this copycat loaf is sliced into 16 equal slices, each piece contains 165 calories, 195mg of sodium, 26g of carbs, and 4g of protein. You can always reduce the calories per serving by slicing the bread thinner.
Can I freeze this?
Yes, you definitely can! Almost every kind of bread can be frozen, and this is no exception. I like to pre-slice my bread before freezing it, then I seal it in a zip-top freezer bag. Be sure to eat it up within 3 months for the best taste.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the bread.
Pan fry the minced garlic in oil until it is lightly browned. This will add additional flavor to the bread.
Sift the bread flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides, stirring each one in with your finger. Mix in the olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and tomato powder.
Gradually add the water and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough passes the windowpane test, about 5-7 minutes. See the recipe card for a description of this technique.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until it's at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and shape it into two logs. Place them side by side in a parchment-lined loaf pan, cover, and let the loaf rise until it's springy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the sweet glaze ingredients until blended. After the bread has cooked for 25 minutes, brush the topping on top and bake for another 5 minutes.
Let the bread cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving because the bread will continue to cook through to the center.
- Avoid using all-purpose flour for this recipe, as it lacks the protein content necessary to create a high rising, chewy loaf.
- Ensure a thin, soft crust by sifting the flour.
- Don't know if the dough is kneaded enough? Make sure it passes the windowpane test. (See the recipe card to learn this technique.)
- Use steam to speed up the rise. Place the dough in a cold oven and put a pan of boiling water on a shelf beneath the dough. The steam will gently warm it up, encouraging the yeast to work faster.
- Use the dried tomato powder for additional flavor and color.
Other Panera Bread Copycat Recipes
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Panera Tomato Basil Bread
For the Dough
For the Topping
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons water
- Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a small frying pan until shimmering, then add the minced garlic and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
- Sift the bread flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring each one in with your finger.
- Add the olive oil, sauteed garlic, basil, tomato powder, and sun dried tomatoes and stir with the paddle attachment on low speed to combine. Gradually trickle in the water and mix to form a slightly sticky dough. Depending upon the brand of flour and humidity, you may need to add more than 1 cup of water.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes, or until it passes the windowpane test. This means that a piece of dough can be stretched until it's translucent in places without tearing.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and put in a warm place until it has at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log and place in a parchment-lined loaf pan.
- Cover and let the loaf rise until it is springy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl until it has the consistency of thick paint, then set aside.
- Transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely (at least 1 hour) before slicing and serving.
- Use bread flour, not all-purpose, for this recipe. All-purpose lacks the protein content necessary to create a high rising, chewy loaf.
- Sifting the flour helps the bread have a thin, soft crust.
- Don't skimp on the kneading; it's one of the most important steps in bread making. Be sure the dough passes the windowpane test before proceeding.
- If the dough is taking a long time to rise, place it in a cold oven and put a pan of boiling water on a shelf beneath the dough. The steam will gently warm it up, encouraging the yeast to work faster.
- Want this vegan? Substitute the honey in the glaze with agave nectar or maple syrup.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.