Italian Cheese Bread
Homemade Italian bread topped with herbs, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (can use instant)
1 cup warm water (120*F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing*
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients.
2. Combine water and oil; add to flour mixture. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. (Optional: if in a hurry, just skip this rise.)
4. Punch the dough down; place on a greased 16" pizza pan and pat into a 16" circle. Brush with salad dressing (I use the back of a spoon).
5. Combine the seasonings; sprinkle over top. Sprinkle with cheeses.
6. For a fluffier cheese bread (our preference), at this point, allow the bread to rest for 15 minutes or so. If you're in a hurry, just skip this rise. (The bread will rise while it bakes, too.)
7. Pre-heat the oven to 450*F. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. See additional notes for baking tips!
8. Slice into 12 slices. Serve warm.
*Ranch dressing can be substituted for Italian dressing if you want a little different taste or need to make a substitute.
This recipe was submitted by guest chef Lindsey Sorgard!
Baking tips for this cheesy bread:
If using a thinner or darker (like non-stick) pan, bake on top rack in oven. This will allow the top to get browned at the same rate that the crust gets browned!
If using a thicker/heavier and lighter colored (metal) pan, bake on bottom rack of oven, to ensure that the crust fully bakes.
If the crust is getting dark but the top isn't browned, move the pan to the top shelf for the final few minutes.
This cheesy bread is a fabulous! Once I figured out exactly which rack to bake this on for my oven/pans, I got it down to a science -- 11 minutes at 450*F on the top rack, every time -- it's perfect!
25 minutes + 20 minutes rising time
This stuff is THE BEST. Easy. Yummy. Affordable (when you buy the flour in 50-pound bags and the cheese in 5-pound bags at Costco, yay!). We love it and have served it to soooo many people who all love it too!