This bread worked well with a steak dinner. It was especially fragrant from the Parmesan, right out of the oven. I didn’t have a recipe for this bread, and made it up as I went along. But, I adhered to the principles of bread baking: use enough yeast and be sure it’s fresh; use warm water and a little sugar to dissolve the yeast, and knead the dough well before letting it rise.
A new thing I did was to warm up the buttermilk. It promptly separated into curds and whey. So, I poured it through a sieve and just used the curds, which enriched the flavor.
I think this recipe would make good, soft bread sticks, too. To make these, just roll the dough out on the counter after it has risen the first time. Then, cut into strips and roll into sticks. Place strips on a lightly oiled bake sheet and let rise. Bake, but not as long as you do the bread, maybe 25 minutes or so.
1 1/2 packets rapid rise dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
Pinch or 2 of sugar
1 1/4 cups warmed (not hot) milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups flour, divided use
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried or freshly minced sage
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black, if desired)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar in a large bowl. Let it soak for 5 minutes at least. Add the warm milk and stir gently. Add olive oil, 2 cups of the flour, the rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage, Parmesan cheese, salt and white pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the buttermilk in a pan on the stove until it separates into a liquid and some white solids. Pour it through the strainer. Discard the liquid; add the solids (curds) to the flour-and-herb mixture.
Knead and stir the mixture in the bowl energetically. If it is very stiff, add a little more milk; if it seems very sticky, add a little more flour. Make it into a ball and place it on a floured counter or bread board. Knead it for at least 5 minutes. If it still seems very sticky, add four, a little at a time, and keep kneading. Shape into a ball. Let it sit while you rinse out the bowl with warm water, dry it and lightly oil it with olive oil. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a dish towel. Put the bowl in a warm place and let dough rise until it is about doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray some cooking oil on a bake sheet. Take the risen dough from the bowl and punch it down on the counter. Form a log shape out of it, about a foot long or a little longer. Put in a warm place and cover with paper towel (these are lighter in weight than the dishtowel you used). Let the loaf rise again for 45 minutes or so. It should rise and form into a nice Italian loaf shape. Place it in the oven. It will bake 30-40 minutes, but you can pick it up after about 25 minutes and be sure the bottom is not getting over-browned. When the whole loaf is lightly browned and the top is crusty, take it out. Let it cool awhile before cutting into it.
Makes 1 Italian-style loaf
From Bonnie Walker
Originally part of the “WalkerSpeak: Shhh! Leftovers. But Who Can Tell?”
This recipe is part of the series: WalkerSpeak: Shhh! Leftovers. But Who Can Tell?