Rosemary Walnut Parmesan Loaf
You’d think a simple request to bake up my favorite savory bread recipe would be simple to pull off, but I really struggled with fulfilling this month’s Fresh From the Oven challenge. The first thing that came to mind was focaccia. I love the chewy, airy, texture and the flavors of olive oil and herbs. Obviously I love it, since I already made it for last month’s FFTO challenge. Well shoot. Now what?
That’s where I hit my road block. What other savory bread recipe did I want to share? I was stumped. I usually bake sweet stuff, people, and if it’s sweets you want I have no problem delivering the goods! But I don’t have a savory bread on my regular rotation. It was time to hit the books. The cookbooks.
I was immediately struck by a recipe from Bon Appetit. I think it was the rosemary. I really love the stuff, and usually top my focaccia with it, so it seemed appropriate to include it in what I hoped would become a new favorite recipe.
This bread lived up to my hopes and soared right into my baking dreams. From start to finish to first bite, it was a pleasure. The dough came together easily, proofed and rose up beautifully, and even when I thought it had done all its lifting, it rose to incredible heights when I popped it in the oven. The crumb was perfectly light and oh so soft, without a single imperfection. It had no qualms posing for a closeup.
I made this bread my own by swapping some of the white flour for whole wheat (as I’m oft apt to to), bumping up the amount of rosemary, and adding some freshly grated parmesan cheese. The parm added a nutty note that complemented the creamy, crunchy walnuts. The aromas that filled the room while this bread baked were truly intoxicating.
Rosemary Walnut Parmesan Loaf
adapted from Bon Appetit
Yield: 1 large loaf, about 16 slices
- 1 cup milk (any fat % is fine)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp warm water (about 100°F)
- 2 1/2 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or more, as needed)
- 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 oz (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese (I used my microplane grater to get a really fine shred).
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water, to glaze
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, butter, sugar and salt. Heat in the microwave 45-60 seconds, or until the butter melts. Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, stirring to dissolve. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture and beaten egg and mix wit the paddle attachment. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour and beat until smooth. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the sponge sit until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Add the rosemary, walnuts and parmesan and stir into the sponge. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Mix until a soft, slightly tacky dough forms, adding more all-purpose flour as needed until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (I ended up adding about another 1/4 cup flour).
- Knead the dough (either with the dough hook or by hand) until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Remove the dough to a lightly grease a large bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Grease a large loaf pan. Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly-floured surface. Press down into a rectangle, tuck the top end in, then tuck in the sides, then roll over, pinching the edge to seal (check out photos of shaping the dough here). Place seam-side down in the loaf pan. Set aside, uncovered, to proof until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. When the bread has proofed, brush with the egg glaze and use a sharp knife to cut a slit down the length of the loaf. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 180°F or until the bread sounds hollow when knocked, about 30-35 minutes. Tent with foil after 15 minutes if the top gets dark.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. I know, it’s hard to wait, but you need to do it or this lovely loaf will smush and crumble. Reward your patience with a thick slice, or use two slices to make a flavorful sandwich. Enjoy!