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 Asiago Bread--The Wisdom of Witches

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S0lvengel
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PostSubject: Asiago Bread--The Wisdom of Witches    Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:46 am


3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups Gold Medal® Better for Bread™ bread flour or Gold Medal® all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 package regular or fast-acting dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) 1 1/4 cups water 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 2 teaspoons dried rosemary or thyme leaves, if desired 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cups diced Asiago, Swiss or other firm cheese Cooking spray for greasing bowl and cookie sheet
1 In a large bowl, stir 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar and yeast until well mixed. In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat the water over medium heat until very warm and an instant-read thermometer reads 120°F to 130°F. Add the warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with a wire whisk or an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrape batter from side and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let stand about 1 hour or until bubbly.
2 Stir in the oil, rosemary and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, leaves side of bowl and is easy to handle. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.
3 Sprinkle flour lightly on a countertop or large cutting board. Place dough on floured surface. Knead by folding dough toward you, then with the heels of your hands, pushing dough away from you with a short rocking motion. Move dough a quarter turn and repeat. Continue kneading 5 to 10 minutes, sprinkling surface with more flour if dough starts to stick, until dough is smooth and springy. Knead in 1 cup of the cheese. Spray a large bowl with the cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if an indentation remains when you press your fingertips about 1/2 inch into the dough.
4 Lightly spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray. Sprinkle flour lightly on a countertop or large cutting board. Gently push your fist into the dough to deflate it. Place dough on floured surface. Gently shape into football-shaped loaf, about 12 inches long, by stretching sides of dough downward to make a smooth top. Place loaf with smooth side up on the cookie sheet. Coat loaf generously with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.
5 Move oven racks to lowest and middle positions. Place an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan on the bottom oven rack; add hot water to the pan until about 1/2 inch from the top. Heat the oven to 450°F.
6 Pour a small amount of cool water into a clean spray bottle. Spray the loaf lightly with water; sprinkle with a small amount of flour. With a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut a 1/2-inch-deep slash lengthwise down the center of the loaf. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese into the slash.
7 Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until loaf is deep golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack. Cool 30 minutes before slicing; cut with a serrated knife.

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