Cacio E Pepe is basically the grown up version of buttered noodles. The dish is a comforting mix of pasta, butter, parmesan cheese, and a ton of black pepper. It’s one of those dishes that you can eat on a cold winter day while you watch the snow fall or sitting outside on a nice summer day.
3 Teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets of active dry yeast works too but I have found instant yeast results in a fluffier texture)
¼ Cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
¼ Cup butter (melted)
2 Teaspoons ground pepper
1 Teaspoons garlic powder
1 Cup warm water
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
3-4 Cups flour ( I typically use anywhere from 6-8 cups of flour depending on the temperature and humidity outside)
Whisk egg, salt, melted butter, water, ground pepper, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proofed, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 8 equal portions. Taking one of the portions, roll into a log, then tie into a knot. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for all other portions of dough. Let proof again for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and some cracked pepper over the top. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes.
NOTES: Do not try to slice the bread right when it comes out of the oven. If you are storing the bread to eat later, make sure it is fully cooled before you put it into any kind of container or it will create condensation that will lead to mold.