Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Parmesan Cheese Bread
Fall is starting to settle in up here...the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. This is perfectly fine by me, since fall is absolutely my favorite season. This is the time of year where I start to cook heartier and bake lots of breads. I decided to try this recipe to pair with my favorite Corn Chowder, and it was absolutely delicious.
This was such a simple bread to make. It came together quickly and resulted in a wonderfully flavorful and well textured bread. I like that it's baked as rolls, so they are easy to pull apart.
The only things I did differently were: 1 - I used way more then 1/2 cup Parmesan. After I went through the first 1/2 cup I just kept shredding until I had what I thought was enough. So really after the first 1/2 cup I stopped measuring...but just know that I did use more then what the recipe called for. 2 - I made 6 very large rolls rather then the 12 listed in the recipe. It was just my husband and I eating them, so 6 big ones worked out well for us (and still yielded leftovers).
This is a great recipe and would be just perfect for company. After all, is there anything much better then bread and cheese?!
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
1 Tbs. (1 package) active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used more)
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the 3 3/4 cups flour, the yeast and salt. Add the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese over the dough. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and begin mixing and kneading on very low speed. When the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 12 to 15 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, brush it with a little olive oil and return it to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425°F. Brush a 9-inch round pan with olive oil.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on a plate. Punch down the dough. Return it to the floured work surface and knead a few times. Then, using your palms, roll the dough to form a log about 12 inches long. Cut the log in half crosswise, then cut each half crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Knead each dough piece a couple of times, roll it between the palms of your hands into a ball, and then roll it in the cheese to coat lightly and evenly, shaking off any excess. (I had to add more oil to each ball of dough as it was too dry for the cheese to adhere. This worked well.)As each ball is coated, place it in the prepared pan, resting it against the rim and pressing down slightly to form a 2-inch disk. Arrange 9 balls around the rim and 3 balls in the center. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with the cheese remaining on the plate. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, cut a slash 1/4 inch deep in the top of each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until brown and crusty, 20 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls rest in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them from the pan; the rolls will come out in a single loaf.
Serve the loaf warm, breaking off the rolls at the table. Or let cool, top side up, on the rack. Makes 12 rolls (or 6 large rolls).