I don’t often bake – we are busy and I don’t have the patience to sit and watch an oven. I also don’t like how many breads have a long rise time which makes it difficult for pulling together something quickly. This bread has a very short rise time and yields big flavor. I love it alongside a bowl of fresh chicken noodle soup.
I always proof my yeast to make sure it’s still alive before using it for baking. You can do this by dissolving the sugar into the warm water and then stirring in the yeast. After about 10 minutes the mixture should start to bubble and have a beer-like smell. If this does not happen then your yeast is not alive and will need to be tossed.
Mixing the spices into the flour before adding the yeast mixture ensures everything is evenly dispersed. Stirring the cheese into the dry mixture will help it suspend throughout the bread and not sink to the bottom while baking.
This first rise is the most hands off part of the process. Cover your bowl with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm quiet place for an hour. After an hour the dough should double in size. Gently work the sides loose with a spatula and pour into a 10 inch cast iron skillet.
After adding the bread dough to the cast iron skillet you will let it rise one more time before baking. After rising for a half hour the bread will need to bake until it’s a deep golden brown on top and has reached an internal temperature of 200°F. Allow the bread to cook in the skillet for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The bread will last at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 1/4 tablespoons of instant yeast (one packet)
- 2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Dissolve sugar into water and stir in yeast – set aside.
- In a large, deep bowl mix together flour, cheese, pepper, garlic powder and salt until cheese is well covered in flour.
- when yeast mixture starts to bubble gently stir into flour mixture until all ingredients are mixed together.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to form the dough into a ball.
- Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for one hour to rise.
- When the dough has doubled in size scrape the sides away from the bowl and pour dough into a 10 inch well oiled cast iron skillet.
- Cover with a well oiled piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Uncover bread dough and place cast iron skillet in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Allow bread to cool in skillet for five minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Store bread in an airtight container for up to three days.