Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Bread
I have just recently taken an interest in bread making. It has always seemed like quite a mystery to me- yeast+flour+water+magic=bread. While I absolutely love fresh baked bread, making it can be pretty intimidating for a beginner.
I decided to take it slowly and follow a simple recipe very closely. I found a white bread recipe on the Food Network that called for using the stand mixer to knead the dough instead of by hand. I liked the idea of this since one of the parts of bread making that I find intimidating is all that kneading business… how much flour? how much pressure? how long? why do the recipes often say, ‘you’ll just know’ when it is ready? The test used in this recipe to tell when the dough is ready is to pinch off a small piece and stretch it with your hands and then hold it up to the light. If you can stretch it very thinly and see the light coming through without tearing it, then your dough is ready. This test worked well for me, so I hope it works for you too!
I added garlic, parmesan cheese, and rosemary to this basic bread to spice it up a bit. It is quite fragrant and delicious. The smells coming from the oven while it was baking were absolutely fabulous. And, I was so pleasantly surprised when it tasted good and had a great texture.
I recommend starting the dough the night before as the ’sponge’ needs to sit in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
This loaf stays fresh for about a week. After it got stale, I sliced it and made amazing grilled cheese sandwiches!
For the Bread:
- 1 pound bread flour
- 1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 10 ounces water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 quarts hot water
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic
To Make the Bread:
- Whisk 5 ounces of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast in a small container.
- Add the honey, 10 ounces of water and stir to combine. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
- Take the fermented mixture out of the refrigerator.
- Mix the remaining 11 ounces of flour, remaining yeast, 2/3 cup of the parmesan cheese, the garlic, rosemary and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the fermented mixture.
- Knead the dough on low speed using the dough hook attachment for 3 minutes or just until it comes together.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes or until you pinch of a small piece of dough and can stretch it into a thin sheet that light can pass through, set aside.
- Pour one quart hot water in a 9 x 13 baking pan and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Grease the inside of a large bowl and place the dough inside it.
- Set the bowl on the rack above the pan of water in the oven and allow to rise until double in size, approximately 1-2 hours.
- Remove the dough from the oven to a floured counter top.
- Press the dough out with your knuckles until you form a rectangle. Then fold one of the short sides in toward the middle and then the other, as if you were making a tri-fold wallet.
- Turn the dough one quarter turn and repeat the pressing and folding.
- Cover the dough with a towel and rest for 10 minutes.
- Flatten the dough again by pressing it out with your knuckles.
- Pick up the dough and pull the sides together underneath so that you form a smooth surface on the top. Roll the dough back and forth on the counter with your hands to smooth it out and shape it, set aside.
- Sprinkle the bottom of a sheet pan with cornmeal.
- Place the dough on the sheet pan and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 hour or until you poke the dough and it quickly fills back in.
- Place a pizza stone or tile in the oven.
- Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine 1/3 cup water and the cornstarch in a small bowl and brush the surface of the dough with this mixture.
- Slash the top surface of the dough in 3-5 places, no more than 1/2 inch deep.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan cheese over the top of the dough.
- Slide the dough onto the baking stone in the oven. (Leave the pan of water on the rack beneath it and replenish if it evaporates.)
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees.
- Allow to cool on a rack for 30 minutes before slicing.