A couple of weeks ago, cleaning out an old file of saved recipes, I came across a simple recipe for Parmesan Herb baguette I had made and loved many years ago, though I have no idea of the recipe’s origin. It’s a great way to use up fresh herbs if you’ve had to buy them for another recipe. Once made, the loaf freezes well … if you have leftovers. My only recommendation? Use fresh grated Parmesan cheese. You’ll be glad you did.
Parmesan Herb Baguette
Prep Time: 3 hr 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Makes: 2 baguettes
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup mixed freshly chopped herbs (I topped up with dry as I was short and the results were still wonderful)
9 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 light tsp salt
1 light tsp cracked and ground pepper
Extra flour for kneading
- Mince the herbs and use a large whisk to combine in a large bowl with the Parmesan, 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and pepper.
- Stir the yeast (and sugar if you wish) into the warm water and set it aside until foamy — about 5 minutes.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and Parmesan mixture, pour in the yeast and oil, then use your hands to combine the ingredients together. Make sure you use the shaggy dough to clean the inside of the bowl and collect the ingredients from the sides until you have a rough, shaggy mixture.
- Turn the rough dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is elastic and smooth — about 10 minutes. Add a little extra flour or water as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
- Lightly oil the large bowl you used to combine the ingredients, and put the kneaded dough back into it, covering the bowl with cling film, a tea towel or nothing at all. Leave to rise for an hour or two, until it is roughly double in size.
- Tip the dough back onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and then cut it in half. Shape each piece into a baguette and place onto an oiled baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (or if using a baguette holder, put the holder on a baking sheet, oil the holder and sprinkle with cornmeal). Leave to rise for an additional hour. The dough should spring back to the touch when risen and ready.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Lightly sift a tsp or so of flour over the top of the risen baguettes, then slash them on a diagonal. When the oven reaches temperature, put the baking sheet in the oven, then drop the temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.