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Rosemary Walnut Parmesan Loaf

May 28, 2011

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, stirring to dissolve. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2011 7:22 am

    That sounds a great recipe! I too have my one bread I bake repeatedly and turned to the recipe books for this months challenge- I’m looking forward to seeing what the other bakers come up with too!

  2. May 28, 2011 11:08 am

    Oh gosh, this bread sounds absolutely fantastic. Toasted with a little bit of butter….mmm!

  3. May 28, 2011 2:20 pm

    This sounds wonderful. Glad you went with rosemary, it’s one of my favorites.

  4. May 28, 2011 8:02 pm

    I make rolls with rosemary in them and can vouch that its a fantastic flavour in bread. Love the walnuts too. Everything about your loaf is lovely.

  5. May 28, 2011 8:51 pm

    What is it about rosemary? It’s one of my favorites as well. Such great, versatile flavor. I like the idea of pairing it with the walnuts and parm for your loaf. Beautiful pictures too!

  6. May 30, 2011 7:58 am

    I’ll have to wait for a time when my fiancée isn’t around to bake this bread — he doesn’t like crunchy things lurking inside of soft things. Strange, no? I, on the other hand, love the surprise of nuts in breads, cakes, cookies, you name it, and in this bread, I love the combination of flavors. Lightly toasted with a shmear of butter, it’s calling my name. Great photos, too.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    • May 30, 2011 8:48 am

      I used to have the same aversion, so I can understand where he’s coming from. I’m glad I got over it though! Luckily, the walnuts are fairly soft and creamy for a nut and if you chop them up small enough he probably won’t even notice them! Or you could leave the nuts out I guess. Let me know if you give it a try and thanks for your nice comments!

  7. May 30, 2011 2:42 pm

    Mmm…I love the addition of the walnuts. I love rosemary-laden breads as well. I might have to give this a try!

  8. June 14, 2011 9:55 am

    AMAZING! I could eat the whole loaf if it was in front of me. Love your pictures just adds to the whole food story.

    • June 14, 2011 12:45 pm

      Thanks so much! I’ve gotten very good at giving food away so I don’t eat all of it myself 🙂

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