In a large bowl, stir 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar and yeast until well mixed. In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat the water over medium heat until very warm and an instant-read thermometer reads 120° to 130°F. Add the warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with a wire whisk or an electric mixer on low=speed for 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrape batter from side and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let stand about 1 hour or until bubbly.
Stir in the oil, rosemary and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, leaves side of bowl and is easy to handle. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.
Sprinkle flour lightly on a countertop or large cutting board. Place dough on floured surface. Knead by folding dough toward you, then with the heels of your hands pushing dough away from you with a short rocking motion. Move dough a quarter turn and repeat. Continue kneading 5 to 10 minutes, sprinkling surface with more flour if dough starts to stick, until dough is smooth and springy. Knead in 1 cup of the cheese. Spray a large bowl with the cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if an indentation remains when you press your fingertips about 1/2 inch into the dough.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray. Sprinkle flour lightly on a countertop or large cutting board. Gently push your fist into the dough to deflate it. Place dough on floured surface. Gently shape into football-shaped loaf, about 12 inches long, by stretching sides of dough downward to make a smooth top. Place loaf with smooth side up on the cookie sheet. Coat loaf generously with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.
Move oven rack to lowest and middle positions. Place an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan on the bottom oven rack; add hot water to the pan until about 1/2 inch from the top. Heat the oven to 450°F.
Pour a small amount of cool water into a clean spray bottle. Spray the loaf lightly with water; sprinkle with a small amount of flour. With a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut a 1/2 inch-deep slash lengthwise down the center of the loaf. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese into the slash.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until loaf is deep golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack. Cool 30 minutes before slicing; cut with a serrated knife.
High Altitude (3500 to 6500): No change
Reprinted with permission from © General Mills, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Betty Crocker Baking Basics, published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. click for book review
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