This simple rosemary parmesan bread recipe produces a rustic, fragrant loaf of crusty bread that is so perfect toasted and slathered in homemade butter or torn into chunks and dunked in your favorite chicken soup. It smells amazing and tastes even better!
It has a long, slow overnight rise and bakes up with a gorgeous crunchy crust in a Dutch oven.
This beginner friendly bread is a riff on my base no-knead overnight Dutch oven bread recipe, keeping the same moderate 80% hydration level while adding tons of flavor from fresh rosemary and parmesan cheese.
As far as cheesy no-knead bread goes, think of this as a more subtle and delicate version of my higher hydration no-knead cheddar jalapeno bread, which has a looser shape and is absolutely loaded with intense cheese and hot pepper flavor.
🥖 About This Recipe
As a recipe developer and home cook I'm always looking for ways to make ingredients I use for recipe testing work in as many recipes as possible. I never want to let anything go to waste.
So when I found myself with leftover fresh rosemary from testing my olive oil bread dip, I wanted to find the easiest and simplest way to use it up before it went bad.
Rosemary and parmesan are a classic bread combo (Costco even sells a loaf!), so a riff on my no-knead Dutch oven bread was the obvious answer.
The long overnight rise gives the oils in the rosemary and the parmesan plenty of time to infuse the whole loaf with a ton of flavor.
The general rule of thumb when adding stuff to bread doughs is to add no more than 20% by baker's percentage. While my usual approach is to ~stuff~ any recipe with as much flavor as it can possibly handle, in this case, the parmesan and rosemary are both lightweight ingredients that are easily dispersed throughout the dough.
I started with 10% in my initial tests and dropped it with each subsequent loaf — in the end we're adding just 4.4% by weight! It might not seem like much, but it adds so much flavor to the dough without the fat in the cheese affecting the interior texture of the bread.
🧀 Ingredient Notes
You only need four ingredients to make this rosemary parmesan bread recipe! See recipe card (at the end of the post) for quantities.
- All-Purpose Flour - I use King Arthur Baking Company's all purpose flour which has a higher protein content (closer to bread flour) than other brands of flour. If you're using a grocery store brand of flour, you may get better results using their bread flour.
- Salt - Salt doesn't just add flavor to your dough, it helps control the yeast activity. I use the chef-standard Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which has larger, irregular crystals that dissolve quickly compared to other brands and styles of salt. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is also half as salty as other brands of salt by volume, so make sure you're measuring salt by weight! If you're using a different type or brand of salt and measuring by volume, cut the amount of salt in half.
- Instant Yeast - Sometimes called "rapid rise" or "bread machine" yeast. If using active dry yeast, increase the amount of yeast by 25%. Store your yeast in the fridge or freezer to be sure it stays good! If you're not sure your yeast is good, add it to the warm water. If it bubbles after a few minutes, it's good!
- Cool Water - Cool or lukewarm to the touch. We don't want warm or hot water for this recipe.
- Fresh Rosemary - You'll need about one robust sprig of fresh rosemary for this loaf. If you'd rather use dried rosemary, cut the amount in half, and give it a quick chop on your cutting board or pulse it in a spice grinder before adding it to the dough.
- Parmesan Cheese - I use a block of parmesan cheese that I grate by hand with a coarse paddle grater. I haven't tested this with the pre-grated (powdery) parmesan cheese that you get in the tall cylindrical shaker containers.
Bonus: If you have leftover whey from making homemade goat cheese you can sub it in to this bread recipe (and most bread recipes) in place of water without making any adjustments. It gives the bread a tangy, almost sourdough like flavor — basically a more intense bread flavor and is so good!
🥣 How to Make Rosemary Parmesan Bread
Mix the dry ingredients together first: Flour, salt, yeast, parmesan, and minced rosemary.
This disperses everything throughout the flour for more even mixing and prevents the parmesan cheese from ending up in one giant clump.
Your last step is to add the cool water. Then you'll mix everything together (I use a dough whisk, but you can use a wooden spoon or spatula) until you have a sticky, messy, lumpy dough with no dry patches of flour.
Cover the bowl and let it rise at room temperature for 18-20 hours.
No-knead bread relies on time to develop a gluten network — the structure that gives bread its shape and texture. The gluten network traps the gas produced by the yeast, creating air bubbles in the dough.
Thanks to the long slow rise time you have a pretty big 2 hour window in which you can get to this rosemary parmesan bread dough at its peak for shaping.
Perfectly proofed no-knead bread dough will have a bubbly top that is flat or slightly domed and stretches across the mouth of the bowl.
If your dough has overproofed, it will have sunken in slightly. Slightly overproofed dough can still be shaped and baked. It will just produce a flatter loaf.
Depending on how cool or warm your kitchen is, your dough may rise faster or slower.
- Warmer temperatures increase yeast activity. If it's particularly warm in your kitchen (70F+), reduce the amount of yeast to 1 gram OR know your bread may be ready to shape sooner than 18 hours.
- Cooler temperatures slow yeast activity. This is why we use cold water when making this recipe. We want the a long rise time. You can also pop the dough in the fridge to slow it down if it's rising quickly and you need to buy yourself some extra time before shaping.
Make adjustments based on your kitchen environment as needed!
An even longer rise: Put this no-knead dough in the fridge immediately after mixing or after the first overnight rise. I've left it for as long as 5 days in the fridge before baking and it works just fine. As a bonus, gluten tightens up in the cold, meaning cold dough is slightly easier to shape.
🥖 Shaping An Oval Loaf
I like shaping and baking this rosemary parmesan bread in an oval shape, but you can shape it however you want. If you'd rather do a round loaf, check out my base overnight no-knead bread recipe for those shaping instructions!
Lightly dust the top of the dough in the bowl with flour, then use your hand or a curved plastic bowl scraper to gently release it from the sides of the bowl. Turn it out into a floured surface.
Dust the sticky topside of the dough lightly with flour too. Just enough so your hands don't stick to it.
Gently stretch the dough into a loose, approximately square shape.
Fold the top two corners in to make a point, then fold the point forward to begin rolling it into a log.
As you roll the log forward think of it like you're lifting the top edge and folding it forward on itself. You're not rolling it like a rope of play-doh — try not to apply downward pressure.
You want to preserve the air bubbles inside the dough! Dust in more flour as needed if it's sticking to you.
Gently fold the sides in again as needed as you keep rolling the log.
On the final roll, tip the loaf forward so the seam side is hidden underneath, against the counter.
Lightly lift and tuck the ends under so you have a nice oval shape with all the seams hidden underneath.
Cup your hands around the back of the loaf and gently drag it towards your body to create just the slightest bit of surface tension and smooth out the top of the loaf.
Carefully transfer the loaf to a crumpled and flattened piece of parchment paper (a metal bench scraper makes this a bit easier!).
Dust the top lightly with flour, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes while the Dutch oven preheats.
Crumbling and flattening the parchment paper twice before using it softens it and makes it easier to bend so that it fits neatly into the curved space of a Dutch oven without digging into your dough.
🔪 Scoring and Baking
Scoring bread isn't just decorative; it creates a vent through which steam can escape. Without scoring, your bread will crack and tear open in the oven unpredictably and might even blow out at the bottom.
Immediately before baking, take a sharp knife or lame and slash the top of the loaf.
You can even cut designs into your loaf if you want to. You do want at least one big, deep slash.
Once you've scored the dough, carefully lift the dough in the parchment paper sling and transfer it into the preheated Dutch oven.
If the parchment paper has folded inwards so that it's indenting the sides of the loaf, carefully poke it so that it's curved away from the loaf. This is optional, mostly just for aesthetic purposes — be careful not to burn yourself!
♨️ Baking in a Dutch Oven
The confined space of a pre-heated Dutch oven traps the steam released by the dough as it bakes, creating a nice moist environment which results in a nicely risen loaf with a super crunchy crust.
Transfer the bread in the Dutch oven, cover it with the lid, and place it in the oven. Bake it covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
When you first take the lid off, your loaf will look quite pale. That's normal. The final 10-15 minute uncovered bake time is when the top will take on that gorgeous brown color.
You're looking for an internal temperature of at least 200°-210°F for doneness.
Carefully remove the baked loaf from the Dutch oven to a cooling rack. If you listen closely you'll be able to hear the crust cracking as the inside of the loaf contracts as it begins to cool!
Let the rosemary parmesan no-knead bread cool completely before slicing it. If you slice it before it has cooled, the steam still trapped in the bread will turn the starches to mush.
🍴 Equipment Notes
You don't need to use all of the same equipment I use to make this bread, but here are the tools I used and recommend:
- Kitchen Scale - You'll need a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients for this bread recipe. You'll get the best results from pretty much any baking recipe if you measure ingredients by weight.
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven - A 5.5 quart Dutch oven is the best size for this loaf of bread, but anything 4 quart or bigger will work. You can use an oval or a round Dutch oven, either shape is fine!
- Parchment Paper - I've been using these pre-cut parchment sheets lately and can usually get 2-3 uses out of them!
- Dough Whisk - The sturdy wire coil of a dough whisk is designed for mixing wet and sticky doughs — the wire cuts through any sneaky clumps of flour easily! There's a reason a dough whisk is one of my favorite whisks.
- Lame - A lame (prounounced "lahm") is a sharp razor blade with a handle used for scoring bread dough. Use the corner of the blade at an angle for slashing. A sharp knife will also work. I use my Wire Monkey UFO-style lame (disclosure: it was gifted to me by the brand) for most of my scoring needs.
- Bowl Scraper - A plastic bowl scraper makes removing the dough from your mixing bowl easy.
- Bench Scraper - A metal bench scraper provides broad support when lifting and flipping the dough. You can also use it to help create tension while shaping.
- Flour Duster - I always keep flour in a flour duster handy so I can easily dust my counter and bread with flour without it being clumpy or uneven.
👩🏻🍳 Practical Tips & Recipe Notes
- Use lightly floured hands when shaping the dough. Too much flour will prevent the dough from sticking to itself as you fold, which will make it harder to shape. You also risk ending up with pockets of raw flower inside your dough. So don't go overboard.
- If floured hands don't seem to be working for you, try using lightly damp or lightly oiled hands when handling and shaping the dough instead.
- Be gentle and use very light pressure during the shaping steps to leave as much air inside the dough as possible.
- When you transfer the shaped loaf to the parchment paper, it may stretch out slightly. Use lightly floured hands to gently squish the sides or edges back into shape.
- If using dried rosemary, use half as much and crush it up before adding to the dough.
⏲️ Storage Notes
This rosemary parmesan bread is best eaten with in the first 3-4 days after baking. You can store it at room temperature for 5-7 days. Storing it in an airtight container like a large resealable bag works well, though the crust will soften due to trapped moisture.
A cloth bag, brown paper bag, or a bread box with a controlled air vent will help the bread retain moisture while preserving the crunchy crust.
Do not refrigerate bread; the fridge temperature will make it go stale even faster.
To freeze this rosemary parmesan bread bread, slice it first. Store it in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer with as much air pressed out of the bag as possible. Reheat from frozen in a toaster.
⭐ Making A Mini Loaf
To make a rosemary parmesan version of my small batch crusty bread which uses just 120 grams (one cup) of flour, follow that recipe but add 4 grams of parmesan and .6 grams (rounded out to about ¼ teaspoon) minced rosemary.
💭 Recipe FAQ
Measuring by weight with a kitchen scale is more accurate than cup measurements and will give you the right ratio of water, yeast, salt, and flour so that your bread dough behaves the way its described in the recipe.
Depending on how much you pack the flour in to a cup measure and what brand of measuring cups you’re using, you may be off by 30-50 grams of flour per cup which can make a huge difference in how this bread turns out.
There's no set standard for what "1 cup" of flour weighs, and different online converters use different amounts, which means trying to convert this recipe to cups and get an accurate recipe is impossible.
Basically, if you convert this recipe to cup measurements it will have a higher rate of failure. I don’t recommend it!
You can, but without the tight space of the Dutch oven you won't get quite as nice of a crust and a rise in the oven. I did test it in a 450°F oven with an ice cube on the sheet pan to create steam and it does work, but the crust isn't quite as nice and the open space of the oven results in more bread blowouts on the bottom even when you properly vent the top. The confined space of the Dutch oven really will give you the best results. The Kitchn has a good blog post with alternatives to Dutch ovens, but I haven't personally tested them and can't speak to how they would change the bake time for this recipe.
Yes! Because of the long rise time on this dough, you don't even need to make any adjustments to the quantity. You can use active dry yeast just like the instant yeast, mixed right into the dry ingredients without blooming it in water first. The only reason to bloom it in water is if you're not sure if your yeast is good.
Getting a nice tall loaf of bread depends on proper proofing, your shaping technique, and can be affected by the size of your Dutch oven. If you used a bigger Dutch oven, if your dough was overproofed at all, or if you didn't create enough gentle surface tension when you shaped the dough, these are all things that can cause a loaf to bake up with a flatter shape.
Absolutely! Check my plain no-knead bread recipe post for the best way to do that.
TL;DR - Recipe Summary
- Mix the flour, salt, yeast, rosemary, and parmesan cheese. Add the water and mix into a sticky dough.
- Cover and rise for 18-24 hours at room temperature.
- Turn the dough onto a well floured surface. Dust lightly with flour.
- Shape the dough into an oval or round loaf. Transfer to a crumpled and flattened sheet of parchment paper.
- Dust the top with flour, cover and rest 30 minutes while the Dutch oven preheats at 450°F.
- Score the top of the dough. Then place the dough in the Dutch oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 10-15 minutes uncovered.
- Let cool completely before slicing.
Rosemary Parmesan Bread
- Mix your dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeast, rosemary, parmesan cheese) together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients for the water.
- Pour the cool water into the middle of the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. It will be shaggy and messy. That's okay. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temp to rest for 18-20 hours (or in the fridge for up to 7 days). You're looking for the dough to double or triple in size with a flat or slightly domed, bubbly top.
- During the final hour of the rise time, preheat oven to 450°F. When the oven reaches temperature, place a Dutch oven inside, covered, and let preheat for 30 minutes at 450°F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper into a ball. Flatten it out, then crumple and flatten it out again.
- While Dutch oven preheats, generously flour a clean countertop. Gently release the dough from the sides of the bowl and turn it out onto the counter. Dust the top lightly with flour, just enough so your hands don't stick.
- Gently stretch the dough into a loose square. Dust any excess flour off the top. Fold the top two corners of the dough down into a point, then fold the point down over the middle of the dough to begin rolling it up into a loose log. Continue continue rolling, tucking the sides in as needed, until you have a log of dough with the seam side against the counter. Cup your hands around behind it and gently drag it forward to create some slight surface tension and smooth out the loaf.
- Use the bench scraper to lift the loaf onto the flattened piece of crumpled parchment paper. Dust the surface of the dough lightly with flour, cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it sit until the Dutch oven finishes preheating.
- Score the top of the loaf to create a vent for steam to escape. Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Take the lid off and set it aside. Use the parchment paper as a sling to pick the dough up and place it inside the Dutch oven. Put the lid back on the Dutch oven.
- Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes (don't peek!), then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes until deeply golden brown on top.
- Transfer the fully baked loaf to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
- Gluten firms up in the fridge; if you find the sticky dough is too hard to handle at room temperature, you can pop it in the fridge for up to 2 days prior to baking. It will be much easier to shape while it's cold. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour after shaping and before baking.
- To freeze: Slice the baked bread, then place in an airtight bag in the freezer with as much air pressed out as possible. Reheat from frozen in a toaster for 2-3 minutes.
- If using a banneton or brotform, dust the basket well with rice flour, then transfer the shaped loaf of dough smooth side down into the basket. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Then proceed with the recipe as written!
- For a long, cold rise, refrigerate the dough immediately after mixing or after at least 12 hours at room temperature. It will be fine in the fridge for up to 5 days!
- Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is half as salty as other brands of salt by volume, so make sure you're measuring salt by weight! If you're using a different type or brand of salt and measuring by volume, cut the amount of salt in half.