Baking Parmesan Bread in a Dutch Oven
Very similar to the No-Knead recipe but now we will introduce parmesan and some kneading! don't fret now trust me you'll learn to appreciate its benefits. Adding fresh Parmesan to your bread gives it tang like nothing else. The recipe as it stands makes a light fluffy loaf; if you want to add some different textures, however, use 450g white flour and say 50g hard whole wheat; or 50g 7 grain; or 50g rye, experiment, play with it!
Servings: 15 slices
Dutch Oven, Measuring Cup, Mixing Bowl, Thermometer, Scale, Scoring Knife, Banneton Basket or Proofing Bowl, Wooden Spoon.
- 500 gm White flour organic
- 300 gm water 28 degrees
- 10 gm Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- 5 gm Crushed Black Pepper optional
- 5 gm Rosemary optional
- 5 gm Onion flakes optional
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 7 gm Fresh Yeast or Dry Active
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the ingredients into the flour other than the water & parmesan. Next, warm up some water to 28 degrees, if you are using fresh yeast add it to the water and let it dissolve or crumble it in with the flour, then add the water and mix well with a wooden spoon or even better use your hands and get the feel of the dough. The mixture will be very dry at first; cover it up with the lid if the bowl comes with one or use a wet towel or saran wrap. Let the mixture sit for 8-12 hrs or let it sit for a couple of hours and then place in the refrigerator for a couple of days, checking in on now and then to punch back dough if it has risen.
Letting the dough ferment by the retarding in the refrigerator or by leaving on the counter will develop gluten. I, however, find kneading the bread makes for better texture and rise. Following is link from King Author flour gives a great demonstration of, Knead the dough, I use the heel of my hand and push the dough forward, then grip the dough with tips of my fingers to pull back, generally the dough is sticky enough that it doesn’t need to much help to pull back as stick to the hand. Use a dough knife or scraper to help round up the dough off the surface. Do not throw too much flour down on the counter surface all this does is very temporarily ease its sticky texture but the dough eats up the extra flour and makes for tough bread. If you place some olive oil in a bowl with some cold water you can dip your hands in now and again for help with sticky dough. Knead your bread tell it starts to retain its strength; holding it up and pulling at it will show you if it holds that membrane without tearing. This can take some work so if you are not into pounding your bread for 10-15 minutes, then you can stretch and fold as an alternative. With Stretch & Fold, you can leave the dough in your container; you start stretching & folding the dough back on to itself, then rotate 45degrees and continue in a circular motion for a few rotations; now let the dough sit for 15-20 minutes. Doing this repetition 3-4 times will be an alternative way of kneading your bread.
On the second last fold or near the end of hand kneading your dough, add your extra inclusions in this case Parmesan.
Take the dough out of your container; place on a lightly floured countertop. Fold the dough back on itself, rotating 45 degrees until you have completed a full rotation, taking care to be a little gentler with dough now. Turn the dough over with a dough knife (if you have one); sprinkle a little flour on top; and tighten up by pushing in on the bottom and rotating at the same time. Forming your dough is best done with a dough knife. Let the dough sit for 15 – 20 minutes (bench rest). Use your dough knife to help turn dough over seam side up on top of some parchment paper and place in forming the bowl. Now you can stitch the bread; Stitching is taking a small piece of the outside part of your dough and pulling it back to the middle of the dough; applying a little pressure so that it sticks to itself. This procedure tightens up your ball of dough and makes for a better rise. Grate some more parmesan on top and let the dough rise, the dough should increase in size by about 30- 40%; take care not to let the dough overproof, as it will deflate when over-proofed, and then all you have is a flat loaf. Try pocking at the dough lightly with your finger if it responds back gently, it is ready! if it responds too quickly then it is not ready. The dough will continue to rise in the refrigerator, this is why I recommend 30-40% on the final proof. This gets easier with experience; you can always invest in a bread proofer!
Once it has risen my suggestion is to place in the refrigerator overnight; make sure bowl is covered with lid or saran wrap, so it doesn’t dry out. Preheat oven to 550 (the hotter the better) degrees F and place the Dutch oven in to for 45 - 60 minutes. Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and score with a sharp knife or razor blade; this is much easier now that the dough is cold; sprinkle with some seeds for show sesame and poppy are a good suggestion or whatever you would like to garnish with.
Take Dutch oven out of the oven, keeping the loaf in the parchment paper place gently into Dutch oven, if you like a softer crust give dough a couple of sprays of water with spray bottle before covering and returning to oven; leave at 550 for 5 minutes then turn down the oven to 450 degrees and set timer for 30-35 minutes. Ovens can be different in temperatures so my times should be used as an approximation. After 30 minutes loaf should be golden brown at this point If you like a softer crust, brush the bread with olive; leave the lid off and return to oven for 5- 10 minutes; the loaf should be turning darker brown by now; pull the loaf out and let it air on a rack for a couple of hours.