Before tasting this bread I was going to name it Parmigiano, Burro and Olio Bread (Parmesan, Butter and Oil Bread) based on its ingredients list. Only when I tasted it did I realize you really can’t taste the cheese flavor at all. Sigh. So it became Butter and Olive Oil Bread. Still a great bread but not quite what I intended.
This dense, chewy bread evolved as the result of a few accidents the first of which was not paying attention when adding the flour. The result? Stiff dough – more stiff than what I’m used to working with. My original intent was for a parmesan and olive oil dough. To mitigate a bit of the stiffness I decided to add a half cup of melted butter. When that didn’t help, I had to add more water. Therefore, I cannot guarantee the amounts of the ingredients as listed above are 100% exactly what I used.
Perhaps because my dough was bogged down with flour, it never raised all that much. Usually no-knead bread dough octuples (is that a word?) in size when you let it rise for the two-hour period. I can safely say this particular bread dough doubled in size at best. Whatevs. The sole purpose of making this dough was to make a pizza crust. Any amount of dough transformed into a bread loaf I consider a huge bonus. Still, if you go to all the trouble to make a loaf of bread you want it to be somewhat edible and the fact that the dough wasn’t rising had me immediately wary. No matter. I forged on with my experimental recipe.
I found that when I let the bread ‘rest’ for 60 minutes, nothing really happened to the dough. It didn’t rise. It didn’t flatten. It didn’t settle. It seemed to look exactly the same an hour after I formed the ball of dough. Luckily the bread did rise a bit while baking. When considering the amount of dough to lop off, what you see is pretty much what you get. You’re not going to get a large, airy loaf of bread from this dough. But you will get a tasty bite of buttery melt-in-your-mouth goodness – especially when eating right out of the oven.
- 2 ½ c. lukewarm water
- ½ c. olive oil
- ½ c. butter, melted
- 1 ½ T. granulated yeast
- 1 ½ T. Kosher salt
- 1 ½ T. sugar
- 6 or 7 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, water, olive oil and melted butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in the flour and grated cheese using a spoon, food processor with dough attachment, or heavy-duty stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately two hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise or refrigerated in a lidded container and used within 7 days.
- When you’re ready to bake, dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a hunk of dough approximately the size of large orange or grapefruit. Dust the chunk of dough with flour and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter of a turn. Allow to rest and rise on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal for 60 minutes.
- Place a baking stone on the top rack (in the middle of the oven) and an empty broiling pan on the rack below the stone. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Just before baking sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and slash a cross, scallop or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top using a serrated bread knife.
- Set the bread on the hot baking stone and quickly pour 1 cup of water into the broiling pan beneath the stone. Close the oven door as quick as possible. Bake for about 30 minutes, until deeply browned and firm.
- Cool on a wire rack (to avoid a soggy bottom) before cutting or eating.