I really like making homemade bread.
I never thought I would say that. I always believed it was too much work. So for many years, I relied on a bread machine to produce homemade loaves. It was convenient and easy to load up some ingredients and let the machine take care of it.
But after hubby got me a stand mixer, I started to experiment with making my own bread. I started off with easy things like pizza crust. Over time, I've expanded my repertoire of bread recipes so that I hardly use a bread machine any more.
This recipe quickly became a family favorite. It pairs so well with Italian meals like pasta and chicken parmesan. It's a great accompaniment to soup as well. Not only does it make a flavorful grilled cheese sandwich, it's wonderful to use for BLT's. And it's great with real butter spread over it.
You can make this a day ahead of time because it stays moist. It takes about 2 hours to make, so give yourself time. It's worth it!
Here's what you need:
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 TBSP yeast
2 teas sugar
1 TBSP olive oil or melted butter
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teas salt
2 TBSP freshly chopped rosemary or 2 teas dried rosemary
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more
1 TBSP melted butter
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes until puffy. Add the olive oil, flour,salt and 1 1/2 TBSP of the rosemary. Mix with a dough hook. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. If it doesn't, sprinkle in a little more flour. Now add the 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese. Continue to mix for about 5 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Shape into a loaf and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle the remaining rosemary over the top, along with some more Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown all over. If there's any butter remaining, brush it over the loaf.