Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Paris Cookbook: Pain au Parmesan

When you have spent more than twenty years living in Paris, you get to know the city. Patricia Wells knows Paris. And, more, Patricia Wells knows Paris food.

In this cookbook, Wells shares recipes of top chefs and little bistros as well as market sellers and home cooks.

Of course, I had to try out a few of the recipes. My favorites were the breads, especially Brioche and Parmesan Bread. 

The Parmesan Bread recipe is simple. You don't have to know much about kneading to make this bread. 


1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 3/4 cups bread flour
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Stir to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the oil and sea salt.

2. Add the 3 3/4 cups flour and the cheese all at once and mix at medium speed until the flour has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball. Continue to mix until the dough is soft and satiny, 4-5 minutes. If necessary, add a little more flour to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured work surface and knead by hand for one minute.

3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Punch the dough down and place it into a bread pan. Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

5. With the tips of a pair of scissors, snip the top of the dough all over, about 15 times, to allow it to expand evenly during baking. Place the bread pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Note: I did a few things differently. I used shaved Parmesan cheese rather than grated cheese. I used 5 ounces instead of 3 ounces. I didn't snip the top of the dough and I didn't bake it in a bread pan; instead, I baked it in my cast iron pot (lined with parchment paper) for 30 minutes with the lid on and for five more minutes with the lid off.

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  1. Very good tips...caste. Iron pot with cover!
    I’ll have to try this.
    Brioche...ultimate French comfort food, I save this for a winter cooking project.
    We are in the middle of a heat wave in The I’m staying away from the oven for a while.
    Congrats to you as ...moderator Classic Club!

  2. Yum! Thanks for sharing, and you are enjoying your Paris in July! Here are MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

  3. That bread sounds and looks wonderful. Everything with parmesan is a sure thing for me.

  4. I've never owned or used any of Patricia Wells's cookbooks. I wonder why! I don't remember seeing flavored breads in Paris, but I haven't lived and cooked there for a long time and they are always evolving.

    best... mae at

  5. This bread looks amazing. I'm a bread eater and while in Paris I indulged in many a Miche de pain!

    1. I'd live in Paris even if I was only fed bread each day.

  6. That bread looks delicious, and I think I could actually make it! Looks like a great cookbook, too.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment on today's post.
    Sandy @ Writing With a Texas Twang

  7. I love anything with Parmesan. This sounds totally delicious. I dont eat bread in my usual life, but I allow myself the bread experience in France (somethings just cant be missed)... but like Mae, I dont think I've seen flavoured breads before.

    1. It was completely delicious. I don't honestly think I remember seeing it in Paris, but I guess Patricia Wells has.

  8. Intereting! Cheers from Carole's chatter

  9. I love Patricia Wells! This bread sounds great.

  10. I can almost smell that from here Deb!
    I love the smell of bread, but I'm trying to reduce carbs in my life, so I'll enjoy from afar only :-)

  11. That looks so good! I'm definitely going to try it!

  12. Mmmmmmm, good. It turned out lovely.


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