A Gourmet Bread Challenge:Parmesan Pull Aparts

Last Christmas a group of us got together to bake cookies from Gourmet going back decades in their archives.Despite some hair pulling moments we have decided to get together once more to tackle the February issue of Gourmet magazines bread issue, in a more laid back approach. Once a week for the month of February we will post a bread recipe from the 6 that were published.Sandy, the creator of BYOB extended the invite and I was more than happy to participate.
Parmesan Pull Aparts are described in Gourmet as brioche like but easier to make.These pull apart rolls are made with Parmigiano-Reggiano and are pretty easy to put together. My rise was perfect but I noticed on rolling the balls prior to baking , the texture and surface wasn’t as smooth as I was anticipating. Another thing I found unusual for a bread is the use of paddle attachment, not dough hook, and lack of kneading.A nice egg wash contributed to a deep brown glaze.Upon cooling the texture was a cross a between an biscuit and brioche if that is possible. Nevertheless it was hearty roll rich in cheese flavor. I paired it simply with some Speck Ham and strong German mustard. These Parmesan Pull Aparts will be my lunch sandwich bread for the week, as you can keep them up to a month frozen. This bread did not turn out as I imagined it to, but the flavor has a wonderful strong Parmesan flavor that can stand alone or go with your meal. I would like to try this recipe once more to see if the texture changes for a more smooth presentation.Parmesan Pull Aparts adapted by Coco Cooks from Gourmet February 2009
makes 1 dozen rolls
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup of warm milk (105-115F), to be divided
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs ( 2 for recipe and 1 for egg wash)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon water( for egg wash)
*A stand mixer is recommended

Mix together yeast, sugar, and 1/3 of the warm milk in mixer bowl of stand mixer.Let stand until foamy for about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t foam start again with new yeast.Whisk flour, salt , and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese . Add this dry mixture to the yeast mixture with the other 1/3 of milk and mix at a low speed with a paddle attachment(not dough hook). Turn up speed to medium and add the 2 eggs, one at a time. Make the sure the egg is beaten well after each addition ans scrape down sides if necessary. Beat for 3 minutes until a soft dough is formed. Beat in butter a little at a time until dough is elastic.2 minutes more. Dough may be sticky. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of flour over the dough and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.Let rise in a draft free warm place for 1 1/2 -2 hours until doubled.

Punch down dough but do not knead.On a lightly floured surface cut dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball using a cupped hand and pushing it against work surface in a circular motion.Arrange dough ball 1 inch apart in a 9 inch buttered cake pan. Cover again and allow to rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375F with rack placed in the middle.
Whisk remaining egg and water for egg wash. Brush on dough balls.You will need all the wash.Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Loosen from pan using a knife if necessary and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Visit my other baking friends for the Gourmet Bread Challenge.