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Two halves of bread on a wire cooling rack.

Easy Crusty Asiago Bread

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Inactive Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf (about 8-12 slices, depending on how thick you cut it) 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This simple asiago cheese bread is ready in just a few hours! No-knead asiago bread loaf baked in a Dutch Oven for a crispy crust and chewy interior.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 9 grams active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 grams sugar or honey (1 teaspoon)
  • 300 grams warm water (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 8 grams kosher salt (1 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese, divided (you'll save some for topping the bread)
  • 400 grams all purpose flour (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups) plus extra for dusting (see recipe notes)

Instructions

MIX THE DOUGH & FIRST RISE  (1 HOUR):

  1. Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks nice and foamy.
  3. Add kosher salt and pepper to bowl.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of the asiago cheese to the bowl - save the extra 1/4 cup of cheese for topping the bread later!
  5. Add flour a bit at a time and stir gently with your hand or a sturdy spatula until all flour is incorporated and dough has come together and pulled away from the sides of the bowl. The dough won't be completely smooth and may even look slightly shaggy - that's ok!
  6. Cover dough with a tea towel and let rise on the counter for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

SHAPE THE DOUGH & FINAL RISE (30 MIN):

  1. When dough has doubled in size, lightly flour a large cutting board.
  2. Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the cutting board. DON'T PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you want to keep all those nice air bubbles intact so you have an airy, delicious loaf of bread. (Tip: If the dough is sticking to the bowl a little bit, just wet your hand with a bit of cold water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out).
  3. Begin shaping the dough into a round loaf. I like to pull each corner of the dough in towards the center (like I’m folding an envelope) a few times, then flip the dough over and tap it into a nice round loaf. (Watch the video above to see exactly how to do this!)
  4. Flour a proofing basket or a small mixing bowl and place your loaf into it seam-side down. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so, until not quite doubled in size.

HEAT THE OVEN:

  1. While bread does its final rise, place an empty dutch oven (with the lid on) in your oven and heat to 460° Fahrenheit.

BAKE!

  1. When the oven is hot, you’re ready to go! Use oven mitts to pull the dutch oven out and remove the lid.
  2. Tip your bread dough gently out of the proofing basket back onto your floured cutting board. The seam side should face up this time - that's what gives it a nice crackly look on top! If you'd like, you can tip the bread onto a piece of parchment paper to help you lift it in and out of the pot easily.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining asiago cheese over the top of the bread.
  4. VERY CAREFULLY (without burning yourself!) lift the bread loaf and place it into the hot dutch oven.
  5. Put your oven mitts back on, put the dutch oven lid back on the pot, and slide the whole thing back into the centermost rack of your hot oven.
  6. Cook bread for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid from your dutch oven. The bread should be crusty and very lightly browned.
  8. Continue cooking the bread, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes more until the bread has deepened in color and you have a beautiful brown crust.
  9. When bread is done, use oven mitts to pull the pot out of your oven.
  10. Use a long spatula to lift the bread out of the dutch oven and onto a cooling rack.
  11. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.
  12. Slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

Notes

How to measure flour: If you have a kitchen scale, please use it! If you don't have a scale, use a large spoon to stir and aerate your flour, then scoop it into a measuring cup and use a knife to level off any excess.

Equipment. We recommend a 4 to 5 quart dutch oven for best results. Please make sure that your Dutch oven is fitted with a metal (rather than plastic) knob on its lid, and always check the care instructions for your unique equipment before baking.

If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can still make great bread! See this post on baking without a dutch oven for our favorite alternatives.

Additions and substitutions. Replace some or all of the AP flour with Bread Flour if you like. You can also replace up to 100 grams of the flour in this recipe with whole wheat flour. Use parmesan, gruyere, or white cheddar in place of asiago. Add herbs, olives, roasted garlic, or sun-dried tomatoes when you mix the dough for an extra pop of flavor.

The cheese on top of this loaf can get very crispy. If you don't like extra crispy cheese, you can fold all of the cheese into the dough when you mix it, or you can add the cheese topping during the last 10 minutes of cooking so that it just barely melts.

Adjustments. If your kitchen is cold, you may need to extend the rising/proofing time by a few minutes. If your kitchen is especially warm, you may need to reduce the rising time. If you're baking at high altitude, add an extra 7-14 grams of flour (1-2 Tablespoons) to your dough for best results.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 thick slice
  • Calories: 196
  • Sugar: 0.7 g
  • Sodium: 662.5 mg
  • Fat: 6.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.2 g
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.4 mg

Keywords: fall, baking, cheese