Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

I’m a Believer

Posted April 12, 2011

Pane con Formaggio (Cheese Bread)
My Bread
Makes one 10-inch loaf

Most good bakers will tell you to measure by weight, not by volume.  I admit to usually resorting to my good old measuring cups – except with this recipe.  I encourage you to try it here – even fewer dishes to wash!

3 cups bread flour, 400 grams
2½ cups pecorino Toscano, Asiago, or aged Fontina, cut into ½-inch cubes, 200 grams
1 tsp. table salt, 6 grams
¾ tsp. instant or other active dry yeast, 3 grams
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 2 grams
1 1/3 cups cool water, 300 grams
wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting

1.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cheese, salt, yeast, and pepper.  Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.  Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2.  When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour.  Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.  Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center.  Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3.  Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour.  (DT: I always use cornmeal for this step.  I like the added crunch.)  Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down.  If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with flour.  Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours.  The dough is ready when it is almost doubled.  If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression.  If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4.  Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475ºF, with a rack in the lower third and place a covered 4½ to 5½ quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.  (DT: I use a 4 quart Le Crueset pot with great success.)

5.  Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it.  Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.  Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6.  Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 20 minutes more.  Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

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