If the smell of fresh bread baking in your kitchen weren’t enough to get all your neighbors racing through the door, wait until you get a whiff of this Artisan Sun-Dried Parmesan Bread. Truly… the aroma of this savory loaf baking in the oven is irresistible!
The baking instructions for this recipe, just like in my original Artisan bread, use a Dutch Oven – making it simple to get the crisp crusts Artisan breads are famous for. Having a tub of bread dough prepared ahead of time and resting in your refrigerator makes putting together a last-minute loaf of this exquisite break amazingly quick and easy.
1 lb. portion of prepared Artisan dough master recipe (see Artisan Dutch Oven Bread recipe here)
Olive oil for brushing the loaf
½ cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped (take them out of the oil, and reserve the flavored oil, setting it aside for use)
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or other Italian-style grating cheese)
Cornmeal and parchment paper
1. ON BAKING DAY: Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece of dough with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
2. Roll out the ball of dough into a ¼-inch thick rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.
3. Brush the dough with the oil you have reserved from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. You can also use regular olive oil for this step, but the sun-dried tomato oil has immense flavor steeped into it and will do amazing and wonderful things to the taste of your finished loaf.
4. Scatter the sun-dried tomatoes evenly over the dough and sprinkle the grated cheese over the tomatoes.
5. Starting from the short end, roll the dough into a log and gently tuck the ends under to form an oval loaf. A plastic dough cutter/scraper can be used to help lift sticky parts of dough from the surface as you roll, to prevent the dough from tearing or stretching. Allow the dough loaf to rest and rise on a piece of parchment dusted with cornmeal for 90 minutes.
6. REST THE LOAF: While the dough loaf is resting, preheat your Dutch Oven. The Dutch Oven and lid need to be completely heated and blazing hot by the time you are ready to bake the bread loaf. It will take 45 minutes to 1 hour. When your dough loaf has rested for 30 minutes and has about 1 hour to go, set your oven rack to the MIDDLE of the oven. If you set the rack too low, it will be in the hottest part of the oven and the bottom of your loaf will scorch. Once your rack is set to the middle of the oven, set your Dutch oven on the rack and the lid next to it inside the oven. Preheat the oven with the dutch oven and lid inside at 475° F.
7. Brush the top of the dough loaf lightly with olive oil and slash ½-inch deep parallel cuts across the loaf, using a serrated bread knife.
8. BAKING THE LOAF: Using heavy oven mitts, carefully take the Dutch Oven and lid out of the oven and set on top of the stove. Grasp the edges of the parchment paper that the loaf is resting on and carefully lift the dough and set it into the Dutch Oven. It will cook on the parchment paper, in the Dutch Oven. With your oven mitts still on, put the lid onto the Dutch Oven and place the Dutch Oven back inside your oven.
9. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on (for a 1-pound loaf). If you are making a 1 ½ pound loaf, bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. At the end of 25 minutes, with your oven mitts on, take the lid off of the Dutch oven and set it on top of the stove. Continue baking the bread loaf uncovered for an additional 25-30 minutes. You want the bread crust to be richly brown, like caramel or dark honey.
10. Using your oven mitts, take the Dutch oven out and set it on your stove top. Carefully remove the bread loaf from the Dutch oven by grasping the ends of the parchment paper. The parchment paper will have darkened and turned brittle from high-heat baking time, so make sure you grasp it in sections that won’t break off as you transfer the loaf from the Dutch oven to your wire cooling rack.
11. If the loaf has baked properly, you should be able to hear it crackling as it sits on the wire rack cooling. This is the sound of a perfectly baked loaf reacting to the transition from blasting oven heat to room temperature air. It’s pretty amazing to hear!
12. LET THE LOAF COOL: Allow the loaf to cool completely (2 hours, if possible), preferably on a wire cooling rack, before slicing. for set flavor, texture, and slicing. The crust may initially soften but will firm up again when cooled. If you’re not getting the browning and crispness you want, test your oven temperature with an inexpensive oven thermometer.
16. Store the remaining dough from your Master recipe mix in the refrigerator, in your lidded or loosely plastic-wrapped container, and use it within 14 days of when the batch was initially prepared.
TIP: I can’t recall where I found this particular tip, but — If you store your Artisan bread in a plastic bag or even in a bread container on the counter, the crust will soften and lose its crispness. If you do not finish the bread at one sitting and will be eating it within the next few hours or day, simply set the remaining portion of the loaf on its side so that the cut side is down and not exposed to air, which will slightly dry it. It won’t go stale and the crisp crust of your loaf will keep the bread fresh for some eggs and toast for breakfast in the morning.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
Keywords: artisan bread, sun-dried tomato parmesan bread, dutch oven