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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine flour with the rest of the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a smooth, fairly soft dough.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise until very puffy (though not necessarily doubled), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into small (about 1") pieces. Don't be too fussy here; the pieces don't have to be exactly the same size, nor do they need to be rolled into balls. Dividing the dough into half, then each piece into half again, etc. works well; you want to end up with 64 pieces of dough, more or less.

  4. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment or foil. Grease the parchment or foil.

  5. Place 16 dough pieces in the bottom of the pan, putting them close together. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese. Drizzle or brush with some of the melted butter.

  6. Place another 16 pieces of dough atop the first layer. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese, and drizzle or brush with some more of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, making two more layers. Brush the top layer with butter, but don't sprinkle with cheese; that'll be added after the loaf is baked.

  7. Cover the pan, and let the bread rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until it's slightly crowned over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Cover it lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers about 190°F.

  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a table knife or heatproof spatula. Wait 2 minutes, and turn it out of the pan onto a baking sheet. Carefully turn it right side up, sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese, and return it to the oven for about 2 minutes, just until the cheese softens and starts to melt.

  10. Remove the bread from the oven. Serve warm, garnished with fresh herbs and accompanied by your favorite marinara sauce, if desired. 

  11. Store bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to prepare the bread ahead? Bake it for 25 minutes, till it's set but not completely baked through. Remove it from the oven, cool completely, wrap airtight, and freeze till you want to serve it. Prior to serving, remove it from the freezer, and place it into a lightly greased 9" x 5" pan. Let the bread thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, or until it's thawed all the way through. Tent with aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn it out of the pan onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese, and bake for an additional minute or two, till the cheese has barely melted.