Parmesan Pepper Sourdough

My wife is not one to eat lots of junk food.  And if she does, her definition of it is different than most.  She won’t wolf down an entire Hersey’s bar or pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  She’s more likely to have a nibble of some dark chocolate bar or try and make her own ice cream.  Given that she is an MPH currently earning her registered dietitian credential, this isn’t exactly surprising.  In two years of living in the residence halls on campus the only thing I ever saw her get from a vending machine was cracked black pepper potato chips.


Having pepper be a featured ingredient was a new concept to me at the time…and then I had parmesan pepper bread at Zingerman’s.  WOW.  The sharpness of the cheese and pepper are an incredible combination.  Zingerman’s also makes parmesan pepper bagels which are in a tie for my favorite along with the roasted garlic ones.

About two years ago when I first started experimenting with the Tartine country bread recipe I made a parmesan pepper loaf.  Having 1/4 lb of parmesan and all that pepper makes it hard to go wrong, but I was still learning how to make a good Tartine loaf.  I wanted to give this another shot now that I’ve gotten that technique down.


It is definitely a good thing that I have only made this on average once a year, because it disappears about as quickly as this asiago herb bread.  The parmesan creates little cheese pockets throughout the bread that give a smooth contrast to the shattering crust and crumb.


As you might expect this bread is pretty substantial.  It doesn’t need butter or anything added on because it has bold enough flavors as is.  We had some roasted garlic in the fridge and though about spreading some on but decided it would have just been overkill (instead we put it on some baguettes!)


On another note, I got to attend the Manchester United v. Real Madrid (do they make Fake Madrid shirts?) in Michigan Stadium this weekend.  It set a record for largest attendance at a soccer game in the U.S., which is now the third such sports record crowd I’ve been a part of there (more if you count the times we’ve broken our own records).  It was unsettling to see so much red in the Big House, but always a nice place to spend part of a Saturday afternoon.


Parmesan Pepper Sourdough (Makes 1 loaf)


Ingredient Amount Percentage
Bread Flour 400 g 80%
All Purpose Flour 100 g 20%
Active Sourdough Leaven 75 g 15%
Water 400+25 g 85%
Cracked Black Pepper 2 t (about 6 grams) 1%
Parmesan Cheese, cubed 110 g (4 ounces) 22%


The night before (or at least 7-8 hours) you make your dough combine 2 tablespoons of unfed sourdough starter with 100 g of water, 50 g of all purpose flour, and 50 g of whole wheat flour.  Still until there are no dry bits of flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit out overnight.  This will be your active starter the next morning.  A drop of the starter will float in water when it is ready.

When ready, disperse the starter in 400 g of water in a large bowl.  Add all flour and mix by hand until there are no dry bits.  Cover and let rest for one hour.

After the hour is up add salt and remaining 25 g of water.  Mix well and cover the dough again.

For the next two hours ‘turn’ the dough every 30 minutes.  This means grabbing the underside of the dough, and stretching it up and over the rest of the dough.  Perform a few of these turns each time you handle the dough.  After the first turn work in the parmesan chunks and pepper.  After two hours is up, let the dough rest for another hour before you turn it again.

After the third hour, let the dough rest another 30 minutes.  Then turn it out onto an unfloured surface.  Flour the top of the dough and flip it over.  Work into a round shape and let rest for 30 minutes.

Following the bench rest flour the top of the dough again, flipping it over after so the flour side is face down.  Fold the third of the dough closest to you inward, and then stretch the dough out to the sides.  Fold the right, and then left, sides in toward the center.  Fold the top of the dough inward, and then wrap the bottom part of the dough over it all.  Work this into a round shape, and place seam side up in a proofing basket lined well with flour.

Let rise for 3-4 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).  One hour before baking place a dutch oven, with the lid on, in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  Once hot, place the dough into the pan and score the loaf.  Immediately place the top back on and return to the oven.  Turn the heat down to 450 degrees and cook for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes remove the top of the dutch oven and rotate the pan.  Continue to bake the bread for another 20-25 minutes, until the crust is deeply caramelized.  Enjoy!

Dough recipe adapted from Tartine Bread, inspired by Zingerman’s.

This post has been YeastSpotted.


10 thoughts on “Parmesan Pepper Sourdough

      • As someone with a serious cheese addiction, cheese in every bite really appeals. I’m making a note to myself to make bread with parmesan chunks in it.

  1. this looks seriously good…. and the addition of pepper must take it up a notch! I don’t know when i’ll get round to making this but it goes on the list.
    oh and wouldn’t it be a good idea for using up those lingering nubs of cheese no one really wants to eat anymore (so then we can go ahead and buy more cheese haha)

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