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ITALIAN BREAD WITH HERBS AND PARMESAN CHEESE
I adapted this recipe from one I discovered on the AllRecipes web site back in February 2003. I began tinkering with it---had some durum flour sitting around---finally came up with this delicious loaf by substituting durum for some of the flour; then I changed the herbs, used freshly grated Parmigianno-Regianno, then added the malt powder (though not necessary). It bakes up like a dream, and goes wonderfully with a big platter of spaghetti, and perfect for bruschetta, crostini, or just dipping into some luscious EVOO (Don't forget to have some good wine as well).

You can get all the supplies you need for this bread from the Baker's Catalogue

I've just tinkered with it again and as of 6/26/08, here is the latest version. Yields 2 medium loaves or 4 small loaves.

3 cups bread flour
1 cup durum flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder -- optional
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm bottled spring water (100-105 deg.F.)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, durum flour, cheese, dry milk powder, sugar, yeast, salt, diastiatic malt powder if used, and oregano. Add olive oil and warm water. Mix and knead with the dough hook of a stand mixer on low 3 minutes, then on medium 3 minutes (or 10-12 minutes by hand) adding a little flour or dribbling in a little water as needed, until dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. (Can stick a little to the bottom of the bowl.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes or until dough is smooth and silky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature about 1 hour. After 1 hour, stretch and fold the dough like a letter. Replace the plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment an additional 45-60 minutes longer until almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 pieces for large loaves or 4 pieces for smaller loaves. Shape dough intol oval loaves gently pulling and stretching across the top of the ball or loaves. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a proof box or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature about 1 hour or until almost doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, place a rack in the middle third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes. With a lame or sharp knife, slash the top of the loaves lengthwise about 1/4 inch deep. Bbake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and registers 195 degrees F. on a instant-read thermometer. Cool on a wire rack.

Copyright 2008 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved