Pane con la ricotta


3/4 cup warm water (105-115˚F
1 (1/4-oz) packet dry yeast ('usually use Rapid Rize yeast)
1/2 tsp sugar
3-2/3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
(1 tsp cinnamon in original recipe)
(you can try some fresh chopped rosemary - 'tried 2 tsp, but it probably needed more)
1 cup plus 2 tsp fresh ricotta (about 9 oz)   [haven't tried this yet with the fresh ricotta, instead using half a pot (8-0z) ricotta you buy in the dairy section]

1. In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast and sugar; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes (not foamy?? start over)
2. Add 1-2/3 cup flour, and using a wooden spoon, stir mixture together until flakey. Use hands to knead into a mass. Cover bowl with a clean, slightly dampened dish-towel and let rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled in bulk.
3. In a medium bowl, combine salt with 1/2 cup lulewarm water and whisk until salt is dissoved. Add 1/4 cup oil and cinnamon; whisk together and set aside.
4. Pass ricotta through a sieve into a large bowl; transfer dough to bowl with ricotta and work with hands to combine. Add water mixture and 2 cups flour, mix together with hands to combine.
5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until compact and uniform (dough will be loose at first; do not add flour), about 6 minutes. Cover with a slightly dampened dishtown and let rest for 30 minutes.
6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; punch down to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten one half into an oval about 9 inches long,; roll up lengthwise, pressing as you go to form a thight log.
7. Place log, seam-side down, onto a clean well-floured dishtowel. Fold sides of towel over dough to loosely cover. Repeat with remaining dough. Let rest for 30 minutes.
8. Position two racks in oven; one in lower third and one just above. Place a baking stone on the upper rack and a clean baking pan on the rack underneath. Heat oven to 400˚
9. Turn out dough from towels onto a lightly floured baking pan, leaving at least 3 inches between each. Cover with towels; let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
10. Dust loaves with flour and use a razor blade to slash tops in the pattern of your choice. Place loaves on the baking stone ; place 6 or 7 ice cubes in the lower pan. Bake, potating pan with loaves about half-way through, until crust is dark golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes. Transfer loaves to wire rack and cool completely.

1. As above
2. Once the yeast is active, dump it, the olive oil, salt (sans 1/4 cup water), ricotta (and herbs if using) in the bowel of your Kitchen Aid Mixer with a whisk attached. Whisk to mix.
3. Replace whisk with a bread hook; add all the flour at once. Turn on the mixer and knead; once the flour and liquids are incorporated, knead for 6 or so minutes or more if it suits you. The dough should be not quite tacky. It should have cleaned the sides of the bowel This is a soft dough.
4. Remove dough from bowel, lightly oil the bowl, replace dough and turn to coat the dough surface. Cover with plastic wrap. I run it into the lower oven set at 115˚F until the dough has doubled. That should take 40 minutes or less (read the Rapid Rize packet).
5. Punch the dough down and form into loaves; we usually do one round or oval loaf. We use parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or cornmeal otherwise, for the loaves
6. Cover with dampened towel and run back into the 115˚ oven until doubled.
7. Do #8 above
8. Do #10 above   (We have found that for the large oval loaf, cooking time was around 35 minutes, so this is something to watch. )