Parmesan Peppercorn Bread

Parmesan Peppercorn Bread: no fancy machinery required.  I specifically designed this recipe so you can make it by hand.  Every Christmas my dad orders goodies from different food catalogs, and he always ordered Parmesan Pepper Bread and Chocolate Cherry Bread from a famous bakery in Ann Arbor, Michigan named Zingerman’s.  If you want some of this Parmesan Peppercorn Bread shipped to you, you have to shell out $28.  $28 for a loaf of bread?!?!?  Ouch.  It was time to try to make my own parmesan peppercorn bread, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY.  The parmigiano reggiano is so sharp and savory sweet, while the peppercorn has a slight heat to it.  Here’s how to make it and impress your family and friends:

3 cups bread flour (15 oz by weight)
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1.5 cups warm water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if you want a crustier bread, leave the EVOO out, but I find it adds a nice flavor/aroma and I like what it does for the crust)
1.5 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
4 oz Parmesan cheese (try to use authentic parmigiano reggiano)

Stir the flour, yeast, salt, water, pepper, and olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined.  It should look sort of shaggy smooth, like this:

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for two hours.

Flour your countertop with 1 tbsp flour, turn the dough out, and sprinkle the top with another tbsp of flour.  Knead for 2 minutes by hand (after that it will start to get too sticky, and we don’t want to add too much flour to the dough, since it will change the identity of the bread).  Place the dough back into the bowl, and let it rest for another hour, again covered with plastic.  Why do we knead?  First, kneading develops gluten, which will make up a big web in the bread under which the bread will be able to hold the yeast bubbles as the loaf expands.  Kneading also redistributes the yeast, which bunches up by nature.  Next, break the Parmesan up into little pieces:

Knead the parmesan chunks into the bread, keeping your hands wet at all times so the dough doesn’t stick to you (before we used flour to prevent sticking, and now we’re using water.  You see?  Keeping things in balance).  Knead the dough enough to distribute the parmesan evenly, about 2 minutes.  Let it rise for an hour (this is the final rise).

Isn’t it pretty!?!?!?

You can bake your bread one of two ways:
1.  20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Stick a dutch oven in the oven to heat up (I just used a heavy bottomed stockpot since I don’t have a dutch oven).  Once the oven reaches 450, place your dough into the pot, cover with a lid, and bake for 30 minutes.  Take the lid off, and bake for 15 more minutes, until the bread reaches 200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.  Cool on a wire rack.

2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Put a sheet pan filled with boiling water on the bottom shelf of your oven, and spray the walls of your oven with water.  Bake your bread on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes, until the bread reaches 200 degrees F.  Cool on a wire rack, and slather with salted whipped butter.

I developed this recipe as a sort of cross between my Joanne’s Original Bread and No Knead Bread (A Bread Recipe for Those Who Don’t Know How to Boil Water).  Thank so much for reading, and have a fantastic weekend!

***On an unrelated note, I am going to buy a dSLR very soon, and am looking for any advice from my readers.  Nikon vs. Canon?  How “high end” should I go with my camera?  In other words, if I’m already going to be spending $550 on the cheapest of dSLRs, is there something significantly better about a $700 that would make it worth the extra $150?  I basically know nothing about dSLRs and would love any advice anybody has! This is the one I have been eyeing….

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

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19 Responses to Parmesan Peppercorn Bread

  1. This looks great!! I will try it for sure!!! Love Parmesan cheese!!

  2. movita says:

    Yum. And yum again.

  3. Dawn says:

    hey Joanne, for DSLRs, both Nikon and Canon are Very Good, but if you want to take fluffy bright pictures of food I suggest Canon-their lens tend to be slightly cheaper too if you plan on eventually expanding ur collection of lenses.
    If you want sharp pictures with more range/depth of color, then go with Nikon. Both won’t dissapoint you!
    p.s. but I have to say, my friends who use Canon do get jealous when my nikon gets better pictures when there is less light, if that will be a decision making factor for you.

    • Hey Dawn, Thanks so much for the advice! Hm…it sounds like Nikon may be better? I’ve submitted a couple of my photos to Tastespotting and they say they always aren’t sharp enough! Which bugs me, because my camera just can’t take sharp photos. Sharp is good! Also, it would be great to have a better camera for low light conditions. I’m so excited to get my dSLR!

  4. omigosh! This is definitely going on my lists of breads to try! That list is growing by the day of course. Do you use a glass lid? I only have stainless steel pots with glass lids, no dutch oven, and I wondered if it can withstand the heat.

    Let us know which dslr you go with. Its on my wish list too, but I don’t know which one to get either.

    • It’s fantastic bread! I need to try making a chocolate cherry bread soon too. As far as the dutch oven goes, the reason you cook it in the dutch oven is the lid traps the steam, which makes the bread crustier (and professional bread baking ovens inject steam during the baking process). If the glass lid has a tight seal, it will probably be fine. Just make sure you check the max temperature for your pot. Also, you could go the alternate route and put a sheet pan of boiling water on the bottom of your oven and spray the walls with water to create a moist environment for your bread. Then you can bake your loaf of bread on another sheet pan, right above it.

  5. Ok, I didn’t think I was that hungry until I got to this post and could literally smell the bread!! =)) Looks so delicious, I’ve never attempted to make bread but this recipe just might inspire me to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. oh gosh… definitely making this! Tagging on delicious now!

  7. I finally just had to sign up to get your posts popped straight into my email because every time I come you have so much good stuff that I’ve missed. I love your “how to’s” because they make cooking so accessible. But then you add such gorgeous recipes as this! We all think you are the “”!

  8. Joanne, is it possible to make this in the stand mixer with the dough hook? would any of the knead times change?

    • Hey Mallory, Yes it is definitely possible to make it in the mixer, I just didn’t in case some people don’t have one. As far as times go…just knead it until it goes to the windowpane stage (are you familiar with that?) Pull off a little piece of dough and stretch it out, and if you can sort of see through the dough, it’s been kneaded properly. I find that it takes slightly longer to knead with the stand mixer than by hand, but just keep an eye out for the windowpane stage. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. Pingback: Parmesan Peppercorn Bread | total noms

  10. Mary Windram says:

    This bread is amazing! It’s also really simple to make and oh, so tasty! Thanks for figuring out how to make it.

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