We both are bread lovers and every other week, we like to bite something new. Cheesy, crusty, spongy, soft buns, loaded with jalapeno or herbs; if it looks good, we pick it. Long back, we had borrowed our friend’s bread maker, which we used almost every other day. That was the first time I saw little yeast buddies and the very first time I ate freshly baked homemade bread. I was on carb high for a while and it soon made me realize how much Arvind enjoys fresh bread. The warmth cozy feeling was inspiring and I wanted to learn bread baking.
It would have been easy to buy a bread maker of our own and Arvind tried his best to convince me but then, what’s the fun in that! May be someday in future, I will buy my own gadget too but for now, I want to see the yeast activate and witness the dough double in size. I want to touch the dough and shape it as I like it and watch it change color as it bakes in the hot oven.
For the past year or so, I have been baking bread very frequently, sometimes even twice a week. And ever since Arvind surprised me with the sexy blue KitchenAid stand mixer, it became a lot easier. My right hand and right shoulder thanked him big time!
Baking is relaxing and some even say it’s like a therapy. I agree with that. It helps you to ponder on your thoughts as you work on the dough and teaches you to gain patience as you wait for the bread to rise. It’s an act that needs attention and time. In the past months, I made countless disasters and then eventually, I started to get the hang of it. With more and more practice, I am slowly absorbing the complexity of baking breads at home.
It doesn’t scare me anymore.
One book that helped me a lot is Bread Making by Lauren Chattman. It’s a great book for people like me who are novices and eager to learn baking bread at home. The easy language and detailed explanation about the science involved in baking eased me into grasping the logic. This bread recipe is adapted from the same book.
It was easy to put together and the bread came out just flawless. It had the perfect crumbly crust and chewy soft center. Fresh ricotta cheese added richness to the taste, kept it moist and sage added the flavor. I was extremely happy with the end result.
Ricotta And Sage Bread
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 3-¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1-½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 12 fresh sage leaves (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a cup, pour water with sugar and yeast. Give it a mix, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes to activate.
- Add flour, salt, cheese, oil and chopped sage leaves in a bowl. Give it a mix. Make a well in the center and pour the activated yeast. Using a rubber spatula, give a mix to form rough dough.
- Now, if you are using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead at speed 2 for 12 minutes. If you kneading by hand, scrape the dough in a lightly floured counter top or wooden board and knead until it’s smooth and elastic. It should take about 15 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, make a rough round ball of the dough and place it on a bowl that's lightly brushed with oil. Cover it with clear wrap/kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place. Give it a couple of hours to rise and double in size.
- Once done, scrap the dough from the bowl to a wooden board or kitchen counter. Using a knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough in half. Gently flatten one part of the dough into 8-inch square. Make a light dent across the square and gently fold the dough over itself, pressing lightly on the edges. Lift it and place it on the loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat the same with the second half of the dough.
- Cover the loaf pans with clear wrap/kitchen towel and let it rise once again for an hour.
- Bake it in a preheated oven at 375F for 40 to 45 minutes. It will get a beautiful brown crust and when you knock in the center, it should feel hollow.
- Remove bread from the loaf pan and put in on a wire rack to cool down. Give it about an hour before you slice the bread.
- If you are using whole-wheat flour, you might need 2 tablespoons more water and 1 tablespoon more oil while kneading.
- Depending on the weather and temperature inside your home, bread might rise sooner or later.
- You can also slow rise the dough by keeping it covered in the fridge overnight. Next day, allow it to rest for an hour at room temperature before you shape the bread and keep it for a second rise.
There is something nice about bread baking. I want to bake every weak. But somehow that doesn't happen with me. I wish I can bake such beautiful and flavorful breads like you often. And even we love Jalapeno and lots of herbs in our bread.
delicious and beautiful!
Oh wow, ricotta in bread — YUP. That sounds so good!! I can imagine that it works wonders, especially for the texture. And with sage too....eee! Delicious.
Since I tend to be a bit of a high energy person, making bread is an almost zen-like experience. All that kneading and waiting forces me to chill out for a bit and just be patient and still. It feels so nice. And when it's all said and done, I get to eat bread! (:
I love baking bread at home. Yours looks amazing! Love the ricotta and sage addition.
I can smell the wonders of this beauty from your pics...
K I am so in love with the pic where the bread is in the pan ready to go in the oven...
The bread looks gorgeous, I love to bake it is so relaxing and fruitful.It's like a science experiment with a great payoff. I like the sage and ricotta combination you used, it sounds and looks delicious!
That bread smells awesome as sage has set foot on it 🙂 That bread looks PERFECT as Kankana baked it 🙂
Gosh, gorgeous photos !
All those colors work so well.. esp the pop of blue..
Ive always had that combo Ricotta and sage with pasta...it's use in bread seems interesting.
Ohhh ask me how I have fallen for this baking stuff, specially breads. This looks absolute yummmmmmmy, and what to say about the gorgeous pics, stunning as usual.
Ricotta and sage are one of the best flavor combos! This bread looks amazing!!
Baking is definitely very relaxing and therapeutic. I indulged a lot in baking while I was away from my blog for a year.
Home baked breads, cookies,cakes, pies, etc are such a rewarding experience. Thanks for sharing this recipe. The bread looks perfect.
i still such at baking bread..especially the loaves and am so scared to give it a go. that 5th pic looks like its right out of a mag..sooo pretty
I can smell that bread. The texture is perfect.
Wanted to tell you this new name of the blog is so much more fun. Kind of reflecting in your pictures too. Great job as always.
The loaf looks perfect kankana. Just love your styling, I loved that blue bottle, the knife...oh hell I just love all your props
This sounds delicious, Kankana! And the photos are just stunning. Wonderful styling! What a beautiful loaf of bread, it looks like it's baked perfectly on the outside and the inside looks so nice and moist! I am getting hungry for a loaf of freshly baked bread just looking at it...
A beautiful loaf! It must be very fluffy and fragrant. there's nothing quite like homemade bread.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
I'm a bread lover too - with ricotta and sage, your loaves look like bread heaven!
"Baking is relaxing and some even say it’s like a therapy. I agree with that. It helps you to ponder on your thoughts as you work on the dough and teaches you to gain patience as you wait for the bread to rise. It’s an act that needs attention and time. In the past months, I made countless disasters and then eventually, I started to get the hang of it. With more and more practice, I am slowly absorbing the complexity of baking breads at home. It doesn’t scare me anymore." -- AMEN! to that. I couldnt agree more. In fact I could have written these words myself. I didnt want a breadmaker and took to making my own bread, so much so that it is a bit of an obsession now! I also agree about it being therapeutic and there is an unparalleled joy in watching a loaf rise, bake and then the best part -- slicing it neatly!
I am definitely trying this one. I have a bit of ricotta cheese waiting to be finished before its expiry, and this sounds just perfect!
This bread looks delicious, and I am on a weird sage jag at the moment. Perfect timing. I bet this would make an amazing chicken sandwich.
Love the soft light in all the pictures Kana..
Bread baking is such a satisfying experience.. Like the use of Sage here..