Since we left Umbria last November, I have gotten out of the habit of making my own bread at home. I’m not sure why, but life is just different here in Florida compared to my country life in Umbria. I decided last week that I needed to start making bread on a regular basis once again.
I went through my files of recipes on my “to do” list and pulled out a recipe for Ricotta bread that I’ve made once before but never managed to get the recipe posted here. Ricotta bread has a lovely, moist, fine grained texture and a nice chewy delicate crust. This recipe makes enough dough for two loaves of bread, and I decided to make one baguette loaf for bruschetta, and a nice oval shaped loaf that I’ll slice for sandwiches.
- 1/2 Cup Plus Additional Warm Water As Needed(About 110 degrees F.)
- 1 Package Rapid Rise Active Yeast (1/4 Ounce)
- Pinch of Sugar
- 4 Cups Unbleached Bread Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Fresh Ricotta Cheese
- Additonal Flour Or Fine Cornmeal
- In a small bowl, mix the 1/2 cup warm water, sugar and yeast and stir to mix, then let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl, place 3 2/3 cup of the flour, the olive oil, salt, ricotta, and cinnamon.
- Add the yeast mixture and stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to come together, adding enough additional warm water as needed to create a dough.
- Dump the dough onto a board or counter, and using the additional flour as needed, knead the dough by hand until the dough is smooth, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Divide the dough in two, and shape as desired into baguettes, or oval or round shaped loaves.
- Place the loaves on two separate baking sheets that have been lightly coated with flour or fine cornmeal.
- Let loaves rest for about 45 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and arrange two oven racks in the middle of the oven. 5 minutes before baking, place a baking dish with water on the oven floor which will help create a good crust on the bread.
- Dust the loaves lightly with flour, and using a very sharp knife or bread lame, cut slashed into the top of the loaves to allow expansion as they bake.
- Bake the loaves until they are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F., about 45 minutes.
- Cool on racks to room temperature before slicing.