With a beautiful crust and a soft and aromatic crumb, this Parmesan Sourdough Bread Boule combines the delicious umami of parmesan with the tanginess of sourdough bread and can be made in less than a day.
Why bake a parmesan boule
To me, parmesan is very similar to sourdough: it improves everything it touches. Making sourdough bread adding parmesan to the dough can’t go wrong! This bread:
- Is the perfect bruschetta bread;
- Can be made in the morning and enjoyed in the late afternoon;
- Has some flavor variations that go great with parmesan cheese.
This is also my favorite bread to make sourdough croutons with!
Sourdough starter. You’ll need an active sourdough starter, 100% hydration, to make this recipe.
Parmesan Cheese. Choose a parmesan you like. Use it shredded, coarse or fine.
Bread Flour. For this bread, I recommend using white bread flour.
Water. Use room temperature or lukewarm water for this recipe.
Salt. Use fine sea salt.
Parmesan works great with a wide range of flavors, but these two are the easiest to incorporate in this recipe:
Rosemary Parmesan Sourdough: add half a tablespoon of dried or fresh rosemary when making the dough.
Garlic Parmesan Sourdough: add a teaspoon of garlic powder when making the dough.
How to make it
For this recipe, we’ll need 100g of active sourdough starter. If you keep a mini starter, feed it enough to have 100g for use.
In a large bowl, combine starter and water, mixing it briefly. Then add parmesan, flour and salt, and mix until no dry spots are left.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, covered.
I did the “autolyze” with and without the parmesan. I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible, so, as I didn't notice significant differences between the two versions, I’m sticking with the simple one, where I mix all ingredients at once, and then let the dough rest.
Stretch and fold from 4 to 6 times, with a rest of 20 minutes between each. For each set, fold the dough over itself 4 to 6 times.
After the last stretch and fold, cover the dough and let it bulk rise.
Signs the bulk rise is done:
- Dough will be twice its original size;
- There should be visible signs of air bubbles on top of dough;
- If shaken, the dough should jiggle a bit from the gas.
Shape the dough into a boule.
After shaped, place dough into the banneton, smooth side down. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
Gently place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, then place both into the Dutch oven. Score dough.
Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.
This is an example of a schedule that works for me. If I’m baking on a Saturday:
- 11 PM: Feed sourdough starter.
- 6 AM. Make dough + 30 min rest.
- 6h40 AM. Stretch and fold, 6 sets, 20 min rest between each.
- 8h50 AM. Bulk rise, about 4h.
- 12h50 PM. Shape dough.
- 1 PM. Fermentation, about 2h. You can choose cold fermentation - it will take longer.
- 2h30 PM. Preheat oven, about 20 minutes.
- 3 PM. Bake.
- 3h45. Let it cool.
- 5 PM. Ready to eat!
Do not use cold ingredients when making the dough. Cold ingredients can make the starter “lazy”, making the rise time longer.
Don’t forget to coat the banneton with rice flour. This is the best way to ensure the dough won’t stick to the banneton: spray it with water and coat with rice flour.
Use a proofing basket, or the proofing function of your oven to have more control over the temperature. Even if your oven doesn’t have a proofing function, you can mimic one by placing a baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven and filling it with boiling water. Then, place dough on the middle rack and shut the oven’s door.
Questions you might have
Yes, you can use cold fermentation for this recipe. I wouldn't go over 36 hours, though.
Rice flour is the best flour to coat a sourdough banneton with. Spray the banneton with water, and right after, coat with rice flour. Do it 3 hours before using banneton.
Storing and freezing
Wait for bread to cool completely before storing. I usually store mine in a breadbox to maintain a nice and crispy crust, but there are different ways to store sourdough bread: choose the one it’s best for you.
You can freeze this parmesan bread. Wait for it to cool, then place the boule in a freezer-safe plastic bread or container, making sure it’s well closed before storing in the freezer. It keeps well for 3 months.
You can also freeze it in slices, instead of the whole bread.
Reheat in a toaster (if frozen in slices), or in a 300oF preheated oven. If using the oven, spray twice the boule with water, then place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
Parmesan Sourdough Artisan Bread
- Dutch oven
- 460 g bread flour
- 150 g parmesan cheese shredded
- 100 g active sourdough starter
- 300 g water room temperature
- 7 g sea salt fine
- For this recipe, we’ll need 100g of active sourdough starter. If you keep a mini starter, feed it enough to have 100g for use.
Making the dough
- In a large bowl, combine starter and water, mixing it briefly. Then add parmesan, flour and salt, and mix until no dry spots are left. Dough will look shaggy.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, covered.
Stretch and Fold
- Stretch and fold from 4 to 6 times, with a rest of 20 minutes between each. For each set, fold the dough over itself 4 to 6 times. Keep the dough covered between each set.
- After the last stretch and fold, cover the dough and let it bulk rise. It might take between 3 to 7 hours. Remember to place the dough in a warm spot, or use a proofing basket/proofing function of the oven.
- Signs the bulk rise is done: dough will be twice its original size, there should be visible signs of air bubbles on top of dough, if shaken, the dough should jiggle a bit from the gas.
- To shape into a boule, fold the dough over itself 4 times.
- Flip the dough, place it over a clean surface, and gently pull the dough towards you, to create more tension.
- After shaped, place dough into the banneton, smooth side down. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. Careful not to overproof.
- You can choose cold fermentation. Do it for 5 to 36 hours.
- Check if dough is proofed with the poke test. Poke the dough: proofed dough pops back out slowly, and leaves a slight indentation.
- Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Gently place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, then place both into the Dutch oven. I like to use enough parchment paper so the edges are big enough to be used as a handle to lower dough into the Dutch oven.
- Using a sharp knife or razor blade, gently score dough. Don’t apply too much pressure to avoid deflating the dough.
- Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, lower temperature to 400 °F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Bread will sound hollow and have a beautiful golden brown color when ready. Inside temperature should be of 205 °F.