We have a friend who is a food importer and every once in a way he summons us to his warehouse and we come back laden with goodies. Cheeses, meats, condiments, varieties of flours and fancy ingredients - it's like an Alladin's Cave of foodie treasures! Summons came again this week and the hubby came back laden with a mountain of goodies once again.
Among all the loot were these wedges of Pecorino Romano cheese. Hard and salty, this Italian cheese is made from sheep's milk and, according to the Wikipedia article, is one of the oldest cheeses of Italy.
Now that I had a pile of this cheese I started looking around for recipes and as I wandered around the Internet I chanced upon this recipe via Pinterest. As I read through it I realised not only was it a very easy bread to make, I also had all the ingredients. It was perfect! Well, I didn't have fresh rosemary so I used dried, but that much adjustment is always allowed.
Potato, Rosemary and Pecorino Bread
(This recipe makes two loaves)
1 cup boiled potatoes
20gms Instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp sugar
2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tsp dried rosemary
6-7 cups plain white flour
Boil the potatoes with a good pinch of rosemary. Reserve 1 cup of the water that the potatoes have been boiled in.
In the reserved potato water sprinkle in the yeast if you're using active yeast or fresh yeast and a tsp of sugar. Though I used Instant I forgot it didn't need soaking, but that didn't harm the bread, thank God!
In a clean mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer mix the boiled potatoes, butter, oil, eggs, cheese and the rosemary. Roughly mashing up the potatoes before helps if you're using a stand mixer. If you're mixing by hand make sure there are no lumps of potato in the mixture. Once roughly mixed add the yeast water and stir to combine.
Add two cups of flour sprinkling it in, a little at a time and mix till you get a sticky dough. I used the paddle blade till this stage.
Add the remaining flour slowly, cup by cup, letting the dough firm up. I changed to the dough hook at this stage and it didn't take more than a few minutes for the dough to come together. Roughly 6 cups of flour were enough to get a soft dough.
Clean your work surface and sprinkle some flour on it. Knead the dough for 5 -7 minutes and once it is smooth you can put it aside to rise. Transfer the dough into a clean, floured bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rise for an hour, undisturbed.
Once the dough has risen all you need to do is punch it down, divide into two and bake. Since my oven could accommodate just one loaf at a time I refrigerated half the dough while the first loaf baked.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place your loaf on the tray. Cut a square on top of the loaf and put it in to bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool and then slice and serve with butter if you like.