Introduction: Parmesan Basil With Black Olives Bread

Whether making grilled cheese sandwiches with mozzarella to accompany your tomato soup, or warming up some garlic bread to complement your favorite pasta dish, this bread is a hit. It smelled so good coming out of the oven, it was hard to wait long enough to take the picture before I tried a piece.

I modified an existing recipe to come up with this creation. It can easily be modified using any type of cheese and/or spices.

6-7 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/4 tsp yeast
1 tbs sea salt
3 tbs sugar
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 tbs dried basil

1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup butter

3 eggs room temperature

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups sliced black olives

Mix 4 cups of flour with the remaining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Heat the milk, water, and butter in a saucepan until warm (115 degrees). Add the warm liquids and the eggs to the dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in as much remaining flour as needed for the dough to be soft and leave the sides of the bowl. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes.

Grease another large bowl. Put the dough in the new bowl and turn it once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place (a gas oven with the pilot light on, or an electric oven with the oven light on provides enough warmth). Let double in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

When dough has doubled, punch it down. Mix the two types of parmesan together. Either working in the bowl or on a floured surface, work most of the cheese (reserving some cheese for the top of the bread makes the bread look nice when it is done baking) into the dough. This can be kind of tedious but it will eventually incorporate into the dough. Next, work the olives into the dough. This can be even more tedious but stick with it. :-)

Grease 2 loaf pans. Divide the dough in half, shape into loaves and place one half in each of the bread pans. Return the pans to a warm place, cover with the towel, and let the bread rise until it just starts to rise above the tops of the bread pans. At that point (if you are rising your dough in the oven, move the pans to the stove top), turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Once the oven is up to temperature, place the bread pans on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to be sure the bread is not getting too brown on top. If it is, place a piece of aluminum foil over the pans (loosely, like it is floating on top). Once the bread is done, set the pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pans and let cool.

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