While my heart belongs to our go-to no-knead bread recipe, I’ll admit that a Parmesan bread with cracked black pepper recipe has been tempting me for months. Finally, I dove in and tried it out. The original recipe is from Bonnie Ohara’s Bread Baking for Beginners, which I’ve raved about before. We ended up with two savory and spicy loaves that we ate like dessert. I can’t say it will become a part of our weekly meals, but this Parmesan Bread recipe is too tasty not to enjoy whenever we have a free afternoon to bake.
This makes two loaves of bread.
Note: Don’t make the mistake of starting this in the late afternoon unless you love baking at night. I jumped into this too late, and we finished baking the second loaf at 11:00pm. Whoops!
Parmesan Bread Recipe Ingredients
8 Grams Instant Yeast
730 Grams Lukewarm Water
900 Grams All-Purpose Unbleached Flour (Note: We used King Arthur)
100 Grams Soft Whole-Wheat Flour (Note: We used stone-ground)
20 Grams of Salt
200 Grams of Grated Parmesan Cheese (Note: You can also use cubed, but it doesn’t melt as well, and I prefer having the all-over taste of cheese rather than biting into chunks of cheese).
10 Grams Cracked Black Pepper
Step 1 Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast into the warm water and swish it around. Let it sit for 5 minutes to be sure that the yeast is still active.
Step 2 Gently add both flours on top of the yeast and water. Let it sit for a minute. Then sprinkle the salt over the flour.
Step 3 Mix using your hands until the dough is thoroughly combined. It looks a little raggedy at this point.
Step 4 Let the dough sit for 30 minutes to allow the water to be fully absorbed.
Step 5 Lightly flour your worktop and then remove the dough from the bowl for kneading. Knead the dough for approximately 7-10 minutes until it has tightened up.
Step 6 Wet your hands and fold the cheese and cracked pepper into the kneaded dough. Note: I chose to do this in stages rather than pouring everything into one bowl and working it.
Step 7 Cover the bowl with a floured towel or insert it into a plastic bag and tie it closed. It should rise for approximately 3 hours or until the dough is noticeably lighter, larger, and airier.
Step 8 Flour a worktop, remove the dough and divide it into two pieces using your metal dough scraper.
Step 9 Pull the far side of the dough towards you. Then turn the dough a quarter turn, and pull it towards you again. Repeat this process to create some tension across the dough and shape it into a round. Repeat on the second dough ball.
Step 10 Let the shaped dough balls rest under a floured kitchen towel for 30 minutes.
Step 11 Time to shape the dough. Pull the side farthest from you down to the middle. Pull the side closet to you to meet in the middle. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat the process. Do the same with the second dough ball.
Step 12 Place each dough round onto a floured kitchen towel in bread baskets. The seam should be facing up for this proof. Allow the bread dough to sit for 60 to 90 minutes.
Step 13 As the dough sits, preheat your Dutch oven (lid on) in the oven at 475 degrees F.
Step 14 Test the dough by gently poking it with a finger – if it stays indented, it is ready to bake.
Step 15 Remove the dough from the basket and place it onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. The parchment will keep the bread from burning and help you quickly transfer the loaf in and out of the blazing hot Dutch oven.
Step 16 Transfer the dough into the Dutch Oven and bake with the lid on for 25 minutes.
Step 17 Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes unless the dough is very light. If so, add another 2-3 minutes for final browning.
Step 18 Remove the first loaf for cooling on a rack (approx.. 30 minutes). As that is cooling, you can bake the second loaf.
Parmesan Bread with Cracked Pepper Serving Suggestions
Tons of Italian-inspired meals would work really well with this bread. The spice of the pepper makes this a delicious addition to pasta meals. You can dip it into a prepared olive oil. It works well against a fried egg and ham for breakfast or lunch sandwiches. Really, the options are endless.
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