Friday, November 19, 2010

Parmesan Italian Bread

I love making bread and this recipe is a new favorite. It makes two loaves so you can freeze one for another day or give to a neighbor or friend. Who doesn't love a loaf of homemade bread? It will soothe your soul to eat this bread and to share it. I love the combination of the Parmesan cheese with the pizza seasonings. You can purchase prepared pizza seasoning from King Arthur Flour or you can make your own using Italian seasonings, garlic and onion powders and crushed red pepper. This bread pairs very nicely with your favorite Italian dish (pasta or lasagna). You can season both loaves with the Parmesan cheese and pizza seasonings, or you can just do one loaf and leave the other loaf plain as I did. Either way you can't go wrong here!

Parmesan Italian Bread

Ingredients:
6 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 packets instant yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup warm water (115 degrees)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for each loaf)
1 Tbsp pizza seasoning (for each loaf)
cornmeal
olive oil

Directions:
In large bowl thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Add butter. Gradually add warm water to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes with mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 3/4 cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes) OR mix with dough hook in electric mixer for 6 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and then a towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
To make loaves: Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of pizza seasoning and 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese over rolled out dough.

Starting with the wide end, roll up dough tightly.
Pinch the seam to seal. Taper the ends by rolling back and forth.
Place the dough seam side down on baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
Brush the dough with olive oil. You can cover and refrigerate the loaves until you are ready to bake them, or go ahead and bake now. If you refrigerate the loaves (up to 24 hours) let sit on counter for about 20 minutes to come to room temperature before you bake them.
Make 3-4 diagonal slits in top of loaves and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. If your loaves start to brown you can cover them loosely with an aluminum tent for the last 10 minutes.
Let cool for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from this recipe at http://www.food.com/.

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