Even if you’ve never worked with yeast before you can make this bread – easy to mix and no kneading!!
2 cups lukewarm (105 – 115 F – should feel barely warm on your wrist) water
2 pkg. or 4 ½ tsp. active dry yeast – regular or fast rising is fine
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 heaping tsp. each dried oregano, dried basil and dried thyme
4 cups all purpose flour
Pour water into a large bowl of electric mixer and sprinkle the yeast evenly over the surface of the water. Let stand for about 10 minutes without stirring then stir to dissolve.
Add sugar, salt, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, thyme and 3 cups of the flour. With electric mixer, beat on low to combine ingredients – use the flat beater if your mixer has one. Beat on medium heat until very smooth – about 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour – if your mixer has a flat beater you can continue using it. Scrape batter down with a rubber spatula.
Cover bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rise until light and doubled in size.
Generously grease a metal 9 X 13 baking pan well with butter or shortening.
Stir down the dough, removing any large air pockets. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and spread the dough evenly in the pan with buttered hands making the sides just slightly higher than the middle. Cover with the damp towel and let rise about 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle bread with 1 or 2 tbsp. extra grated Parmesan, if desired.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake in centre of the oven for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Immediately remove bread from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve bread warm or cool.
This bread freezes and reheats very well.
To reheat: Wrap in foil and reheat bread in 350 F oven about 15 – 20 minutes or until hot.