This Parmesan Peppercorn Bread is simple enough for cooks of all levels to make, and the pairing of nutty parmesan cheese and sharp peppercorns is lovely!
3cupsbread flour(15 oz by weight)
1/2tspactive dry yeast
2tbspextra virgin olive oilif 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
1.5tbspfreshly cracked black pepper
4ozParmesan cheesetry to use authentic parmigiano reggiano
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.