Ricotta Bread is a soft enriched bread that is baked free-from on a baking stone for the best crust development. The interior crumb is fairly tight and even, which makes it great for sandwiches, french toast and just regular toast. I have to say though, that my favorite part of making this bread is having to make homemade ricotta. There is nothing that beats the taste of ricotta that is freshly made without any preservatives masking the flavor.
- ¾ cup (7.1 oz, 200 g) water
- ½ cup (3.5 oz, 100 g) warm milk
- 1 TB (.7 oz, 20 g) instant yeast
- 3 1/4 cup (17.6 oz, 500 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 TB (1.1 oz, 30 g) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup (5.3 oz, 150 g) whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature (recipe follows)
- 1 1/2 tsp. (.4 oz, 10 g) salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until no dry flour remains.
- Knead the dough by hand or stand mixer until the dough is soft and smooth and very elastic. This will take about 15 minutes by hand and 10 by stand mixer.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until it doubles in bulk, about 1-1 ½ hours. It will deflate slightly if you press it.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round. Place the loaves smooth side up on a piece of parchment paper and cover with greased plastic wrap.
- Let the loaves rise at room temperature until they look puffy and light and have nearly doubled in size, about 1-1 ½ hours.
- About 1 hour before baking place a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a cast iron skillet on the lower rack and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place a new piece of parchment paper on the counter and invert each of the loaves seam side up onto the parchment. Slide the upside down loaves directly onto the baking stone. Pour ½ cup of water into the cast iron skillet to create steam. Bake the loaves until the rounds are golden brown 20-30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Adapted from Daniel Leader’s book Bread Alone.
- 1 quart whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ TB fresh lemon juice
- Line a strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth or damp paper towels and place it over a large bowl. Slowly bring the milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring often.
- Stir the lemon juice into the milk and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles. This will take about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and allow it to drain for 10-15 minutes. Discard the liquid or use it in place of water in some bread recipes to add softness to the bread.