Parmesan Peppercorn Bread

Parmesan Peppercorn Bread: no fancy machinery required.  I specifically designed this recipe so you can make it by hand.  Every Christmas my dad orders goodies from different food catalogs, and he always ordered Parmesan Pepper Bread and Chocolate Cherry Bread from a famous bakery in Ann Arbor, Michigan named Zingerman’s.  If you want some of this Parmesan Peppercorn Bread shipped to you, you have to shell out $28.  $28 for a loaf of bread?!?!?  Ouch.  It was time to try to make my own parmesan peppercorn bread, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY.  The parmigiano reggiano is so sharp and savory sweet, while the peppercorn has a slight heat to it.


Make the shaggy mass of dough:

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for two hours.

Break up a block of parmesan cheese into chunks:

Knead the parmesan chunks into the bread, keeping your hands wet at all times so the dough doesn’t stick to you. Let it rise for an hour (this is the final rise).

Bake, and enjoy!

 

Parmesan Peppercorn Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour (15 oz by weight)
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if you want a crustier bread, leave the EVOO out, but I find it adds a nice flavor/aroma and I like what it does for the crust)
  • 1.5 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese (try to use authentic parmigiano reggiano)

Directions:

  1. Stir the flour, yeast, salt, water, pepper, and olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. It should look sort of shaggy smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for two hours.
  2. Flour your countertop with 1 tbsp flour, turn the dough out, and sprinkle the top with another tbsp of flour. Knead for 2 minutes by hand (after that it will start to get too sticky, and we don’t want to add too much flour to the dough, since it will change the identity of the bread). Place the dough back into the bowl, and let it rest for another hour, again covered with plastic. Why do we knead? First, kneading develops gluten, which will make up a big web in the bread under which the bread will be able to hold the yeast bubbles as the loaf expands. Kneading also redistributes the yeast, which bunches up by nature. Next, break the Parmesan up into little pieces. Knead the parmesan chunks into the bread, keeping your hands wet at all times so the dough doesn’t stick to you (before we used flour to prevent sticking, and now we’re using water. You see? Keeping things in balance). Knead the dough enough to distribute the parmesan evenly, about 2 minutes. Let it rise for an hour (this is the final rise).
  3. You can bake your bread one of two ways:
    Method 1: 20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Stick a dutch oven in the oven to heat up (I just used a heavy bottomed stockpot since I don’t have a dutch oven). Once the oven reaches 450, place your dough into the pot, cover with a lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Take the lid off, and bake for 15 more minutes, until the bread reaches 200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Method 2: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Put a sheet pan filled with boiling water on the bottom shelf of your oven, and spray the walls of your oven with water. Bake your bread on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes, until the bread reaches 200 degrees F. Cool on a wire rack, and slather with salted whipped butter.

I developed this recipe as a sort of cross between my Joanne’s Original Bread and No Knead Bread (A Bread Recipe for Those Who Don’t Know How to Boil Water).

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