Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ricotta Bread (Sourdough)


A delicious sourdough made with fresh ricotta cheese.

I made some fresh ricotta cheese at home the other day.  It was my first time, and it was so easy.  Anyway, that is for another post but it gave me the idea of putting some ricotta in a bread recipe.  I used the same recipe (or formula) as Potato Garlic Bread, but replaced the potato with ricotta, and omitted the garlic while adding some honey.  The result was this beautifully browned loaf with a tight and soft crumb.  This makes it great for sandwiches.  The flavor is great,  sour with just a hint of cheese, it can be used for either sweet or savory purposes.  I'm already thinking about what else I can add when I make it again.


14 oz barm
14 oz bread flour
.30 oz salt (1.5 tsp)
6.75 oz ricotta (a little over 1 cup)
1 oz honey
1 oz olive oil

The night before, prepare the barm.  I used 2 oz of my sourdough starter and built it to 14 oz by adding 6 oz flour and 6 oz water (I keep my sourdough starter at 100% hydration, that means equal parts flour and water for this recipe I used whey that was leftover from making the cheese).  Stir until all of the flour is hydrated and leave, covered, overnight.  After 10-12 hours the barm should be very bubbly.

The next day add the barm, flour, salt, ricotta, honey, and olive oil to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment (or a spoon if by hand) stir until all the flour is hydrated and ingredients form a ball, you may need to dribble in some more water to hydrate all of the flour.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 6-8 minutes on medium low speed (or 10-15 by hand) until dough becomes smooth and elastic.  It should be soft and tacky but not sticky (add more flour as necessary to reach this consistency).  Place dough in oiled bowl, rolling it to coat all sides with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 4 hours until doubled in size.

Once risen, cut dough in half and form two boules (round loaves).  Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 2 more hours, them bake at 400F for 20 minutes, turn 180 degrees and continue baking for 15-20 minutes more until browned all over. Let cool for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving.

I did not want 2 loaves so I made 4 pitas with half of the dough.  After the first rise, instead of forming the second boule, I cut the dough into 4 pieces of about 4 oz each.  Then I rolled them out and baked them (at 500F) until they puffed.

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