Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Honey Ricotta Yeast Bread

Ah, the New Year has dawned (are you sick of hearing that yet?) and it's time to get back into the swing of things. We finally finished the last of our Filled Brioche and Challah from Christmas, and mom was looking for something a little more wholesome that still had hints of all the rich flavours and textures we enjoyed. Since we had a lot of dairy products remaining from the holidays, ricotta was the first thing on my list - not only does my mom love it on or in almost anything, it lends a tenderness and slight tang to anything you bake with it.

So, I decided to take that freshly made cheese and make a version of a recipe I had seen on Not Quite Nigella - but since we had some fabulous leftover honey as well, I was inspired to give the loaf a sweeter, almost Rosh Hashanah-esque treatment. I know the Jewish New Year was way back in September, but it's the new calendar year - don't we all deserve a bit of sweetness? I added sesame seeds for flavour and texture, but they also represent immortality in some cultures! With both whole wheat flour and toothsome bulgur in the dough (symbolizing home and hearth, love and affection and especially feasting and prosperity for all), this is one forward-thinking loaf.

Honey Ricotta Yeast BreadThe only thing I neglected to consider when adding all this goodness was the carmelization speed of sugar. Honey is twice as sweet as it's crystalline sugar counterpart, but it also browns twice as fast in the oven! While I was spared a charcoal-tinted loaf, I did go back and make a note to tent the baking bread with foil so that it looks not quite so caramelized.

All that said, it tastes fantastic - moist, hearty yet tender, and perfect for toast and jam in the morning. If you're like my mother though, it's perfect for toast with ricotta and jam in the morning!

Shared with YeastSpotting

Honey Ricotta Yeast Bread
Makes one 9x5" loaf, 16 slices
1 tsp instant yeast
2 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
½ cup bulgur wheat
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
1 cup homemade ricotta cheese (or whole milk storebought ricotta)
¼ cup amber honey
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup whole milk
1 tsp salt
  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook), combine the yeast, flour, bulgur and sesame seeds.
  2. Whisk together the ricotta, honey, sesame oil, milk and salt and add to the flour mixture.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes on low speed, or by hand for 12 minutes.
  4. Cover and let rest for 40 minutes.
  5. Deflate dough, shape into a loaf and place in a greased 9x5” pan.
  6. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 450F.
  8. Place loaf in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375F.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes, until hollow sounding inside. Tent with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 156.1
Total Fat: 6.9 g
Cholesterol: 14.8 mg
Sodium: 87.2 mg
Total Carbs: 19.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 5.3 g

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