Pane alla ricotta is the final bread in the Verona and Tuscany section of Daniel Leader’s book Local Breads. As mentioned previously, this hasn’t been my favourite section as there have been no sourdough breads in it. This is the first section of totally yeasted bread, and it hasn’t exactly rocked my world! There really is something about sourdough! So I have made the first 20 bread recipes in this book, 8 have been yeasted and the remaining 12 sourdough (the croissants were a hybrid).
This was probably the most interesting bread in the section, the addition of ricotta is novel, and plus the loaf was tipped upside down after proofing and was baked belly up! I’ve never done that before. The ricotta cheese helped produce a velvety crumb and a subtle yet interesting taste to the bread, not exactly sweet, but it was something. The dough was unbelievably soft and billow, it was lovely.
So to the recipe, this was just yeasted dough, no biga required. We started with 200g water and 100g milk (both tepid), 20g instant yeast, 500g AP flour, 20g salt, 150g ricotta and 30g unsalted butter (I didn’t use any butter and decided to add the entire 250g tub of ricotta instead). This was all kneaded on my Kitchen Aid for about 12 minutes (nice and elastic). I then tipped it out, oiled the Kitchen Aid bowl and popped the dough back in to ferment (can’t stand making more dirty dishes than I need to!) for 1.5 hours at RT (about 18C). It had risen up nicely by this stage and deflated slightly when pressed.
I tipped the dough onto a floured bench (rice flour) and cut it into 2 equal pieces of about 500g each. They were shaped into rounds and placed on a piece of baking paper to proof (covered with a plastic bag and tea towel) for about 1 hour.
The loaves were then gently flipped over so they were belly up and placed on baking paper on my peel. Since the dough was very soft, I had to be very carefully with the flipping, didn’t want to sucker punch them and knock out all their stuffing! The upside down loaves were then put on my stone in the 210C oven, and followed by 5 large ice cubes in the bottom tray. Baking time was 30 minutes.
Upside down loaves in oven
The loaves turned out a nice light golden colour, with a slight rift in the top where the shaping marks had split open during baking. Nice looking loaves. The crumb was reasonably closed as I would expect with the addition of the ricotta, and very soft. The bread was lovely with a variety of toppings including jam, marmite and avocado. I probably would make this bread again, as it was very pleasant dough to work with, even though the flavour while not hearty like a SD, was lovely.
Baked ricotta loaf
Next up (this afternoon as it happens) is the first in the Genzano section – a SD loaf at last!
Happiness is baking!