This Asiago Cheese Bread recipe comes to you from my friend at Bella's Breadbox. It's full of flavor, soft on the inside and has the perfect crisp crust.
*Please note that about 90% of the prep time is inactive, and please read through the entire recipe to get a sense of timing before you begin.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cheese, salt, yeast and pepper. Add the water and use a wooden spoon, or your hand, to mix until you have a wet and sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles, and the dough is more than doubled in size,12 to 18 hours.
When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Use lightly floured hands to lift the edges of the dough in towards the center. Nudge and tuck in the floured hands to lift the edges of the dough in towards the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with cornmeal flour or wheat bran. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly. Fold the ends of the tea towel over the dough to cover it. Place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it's almost doubled in size. (If you gently poke it with your finger, if should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.)
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with a rack in the middle. Place a covered 4 to 5 quart heavy pot on the rack to preheat. (I use a 5-quart Dutch Oven.)
Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Use caution -- the pot will be very hot! Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.