I have been dying to make this bread ever since I started browsing recipes on Williams Sonoma. However, it is far easier to make with a stand mixer and up until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t have one. Since my wonderful hubby got me one for our anniversary I have been able to make all sorts of new things, and I have gotten tons of use out of the mixer already. I finally got around to trying this bread today because I had quite a bit of free time on my hands and I thought it would be a great addition to our meal of parmesan-crusted pork chops. We both loooved this and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon.
I didn’t change much of anything with this recipe since breads aren’t really something to tinker with. My one change was to add a bit of garlic powder to the cheese for topping, inspired by Amber who did something similar when she made this bread. Otherwise I made this as the recipe instructed and it was easy to follow.
Parmesan Cheese Bread
3 ¾ cups unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. (1 pkg.) active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
garlic powder (to taste)
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the 3 3/4 cups flour, the yeast and salt. Add the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese over the dough. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and begin mixing and kneading on very low speed. When the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 12 to 15 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, brush it with a little olive oil and return it to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425°F. Brush a 9-inch round pan with olive oil.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on a plate and mix with garlic powder as desired. Punch down the dough. Return it to the floured work surface and knead a few times. Then, using your palms, roll the dough to form a log about 12 inches long. Cut the log in half crosswise, then cut each half crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Knead each dough piece a couple of times, roll it between the palms of your hands into a ball, and then roll it in the cheese to coat lightly and evenly, shaking off any excess. As each ball is coated, place it in the prepared pan, resting it against the rim and pressing down slightly to form a 2-inch disk. Arrange 9 balls around the rim and 3 balls in the center. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with the cheese remaining on the plate. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, cut a slash 1/4 inch deep in the top of each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until brown and crusty, 20 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls rest in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them from the pan; the rolls will come out in a single loaf.
Serve the loaf warm, breaking off the rolls at the table. Or let cool, top side up, on the rack. Makes 12 rolls.