Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Bread with Baked Ricotta

I used to think that bread making was a real art form and that you needed weightlifting muscles for all that kneading - not true!!  I have got into the habit of making this bread at least twice a week because it is so easy and so delicious (and, have you seen the price of real bread recently?)


500 g organic flour (I use a mix of spelt and wholemeal)
2 level tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 level tsp sugar
2 tbs olive oil
350 ml filtered water (approx)
handful pitted olives
1/2 cup polenta


1.  I use the dough hook on a food processor, but you can do this by hand.  Mix together dry ingredients.
2.  Add oil and slowly add water until it forms a dough.  Continue to beat for 10 minutes until dough becomes elastic.
3.  Leave to rise in a greased bowl for approx. 2 hours in a draught free place.  I use my laundry.  I loosely cover with some greased plastic wrap and a tea towel over the top if it is a cool day.  Should double in size.
4.  Punch down on a tray scattered with polenta.  Shape however you wish.  I then either press half olives into the dough or brush with an olive oil/salt/fresh rosemary mix.
5.  Leave for another hour.  Heat oven to 200oC
6.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  You know when it is cooked when it if slightly golden and it sounds like a drum when you knock it with your knuckle - and it smells heavenly!!


BAKED RICOTTA


500 g ricotta (the 'cake' kind)
1 tbs chopped chives
1 tsp fresh marjoram or thyme
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
1 tbs olive oil
1 free range egg


1.  Use the oil to well grease an ovenproof ramekin or souffle dish.  Scatter with the chilli flakes.
2.  Mix all the other ingredients together.
3.  Pour into the dish and bake with the bread for approx. 20 mins.  It should puff up and go golden.
4.  Cool slightly and turn out onto a plate.  Delicious for lunches, picnics, breakfast and sandwiches.  Will keep for a few days in the fridge
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