Saturday, December 31, 2011

Parmesan Herb Bread

When I was in school one of the first classes I took was Breads and Rolls. It was taught by a French pastry chef who specialized in breads. The class was broken up into five groups and each week of the class on Friday a different group would make French bread so that we would have it for the Commercial Foods class to use in their cafe. So, each group was able to make French bread several times and we were graded on the texture, color, size of the holes inside and taste. 

Chef Massenet was very influential in building my love of breads, especially French bread. This bread is not a true, pure French bread but it has some similarities. Parmesan herb bread has herbs mixed into the dough as well as sprinkled on the top of the loaf before it is baked. You have the option to use dried herbs or fresh herbs. When I can I always use fresh herbs because I feel like they have a more robust flavor that they add to the final product. 
Originally this recipe was for a bread maker but I adapted it to be manual, which is funny because usually people are trying to figure out how to make bread in their breadmakers instead of by hand or mixer. I like to run the wrong way though, it makes things more interesting. You could always leave out some or all of the herbs if you want to, it's all based on your flavor preference. Happy Baking and have a great New Year's Eve!

Parmesan Herb Bread
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup slightly warm water (100-110F)
- 2 ¼ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Stir yeast into warm water. Let sit about 5 minutes so the yeast foams.
  2. Place 1 ¼ cups of flour and next 7 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add in the yeast mixture and stir until mixed. Add in the additional 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined or mix using a bread hook on a mixer.
  3. Mix for about 1 minute or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough in a warm place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. I like to turn on the “warm” function of the oven for about 20 seconds then turn the oven off and put the dough in the oven to proof. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 12-inch long loaf. Place loaf on a baking sheet. Brush loaf with olive oil. Combine cheese, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and garlic powder; sprinkle over top of loaf.
  7. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from

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