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Parmesan-Peppercorn Bread (4th Revision, Metric Edition)

Quick note: The tools & supplies list is long, but it’s just very complete in case you like checklists, or in case you don’t already have these things around from baking a lot.

Summary: 5:3 bread, 1.5 parts cheese, very little pepper. Cube cheese, crush pepper, add late in the knead. Rise & proof as normal, bake 450F for ~ 45 minutes total (in Dutch oven: 25-30 lid on, 12-15 lid off)

Ingredients

  • 500g bread flour
  • 300g water
  • 10g yeast (active, dry)
  • 10g salt
  • 150g domestic parmesan, diced
  • 6g black peppercorns, crushed or very coarsely-ground

Tools & Supplies:

  • Kitchen Scale
  • Stand Mixer
  • Dutch Oven (~~ 5.5 qt “covered casserole”)
  • Something to proof in (have you considered a cambro or proofing bucket?)
  • Parchment Paper
  • Small bowls for measuring
  • Lame or sharp knife (to slash bread)
  • Knife & cutting board for cheese
  • Mortar & pestle for pepper (or plastic bag and a heavy pot or a hand grinder)
  • Cooling rack
  • Liquid measuring cup

Instructions:

  1. Dice parmesan (~1/4” cubes or a bit bigger) (use something inexpensive and young, you want melt, and it’s cheaper) and crush pepper.
  2. Combine flour, water, salt, yeast in mixer bowl.
  3. Mix w/ dough hook, starting low until it starts to come together, then optionally turn up to medium speed.
  4. When dough is starting to look pretty even, add parmesan cubes & pepper.
  5. Mix on low until evenly combined (prevents bashing up the cheese too much)
  6. When it’s even, put aside to proof (oiled proofing bucket is great, or a bowl w/ a towel or plastic over. Whatever).
  7. Let proof ~~ 1.5-2 hours.
  8. Shape into round.
  9. Let rise ~~ 45-60 minutes total (optionally cover w/ something to preserve moisture, prevent pet hair, etc).
  10. While bread is rising, put dutch oven in oven and preheat oven to 450F (230C) (Takes my oven a while).
  11. When bread is looking good, set aside a small amount of water in something easy to pour and your sharp knife. Pull the dutch oven out, pull off the lid, drop in the bread. Carefully (don’t burn yourself) slash the bread. This helps it expand. Feel free to be slapdash or decorative. Whatever. If you forget, your bread won’t rise as well, but it’ll still be ok.
  12. Drizzle a little water around the base of the bread, then pop the lid back on and put the dutch oven back in the oven.
  13. Bake ~ 25-30 minutes (I get good results from 25 most days).
  14. Take the lid off the dutch oven and bake the bread another 12-15 minutes.
  15. Remove from oven, tip out on cooling rack.
  16. Allow cool as long as possible; ideal crust forms in about 90-120 minutes, but y’know, it’s great after 15 minutes, too.

Slightly More Than A Placeholder

I’ll fill this out with more content later.  The plan is to post things I find interesting and even worth sharing.  One of the first things in mind is add some notes on headscratchers I ran into with Groovy recently, as well as some talks about how we’re managing FreeRADIUS at work.