Sunday, August 12, 2007
I found this bread on Rose's blog last week. She explained that this loaf is what her original ricotta loaf in The Bread Bible was supposed to be, but she tweaked the original into one baked in a loaf pan in order to round out a chapter. She recently decided to make the original, and was enthusiastic enough about it that I knew I had to try it.
I made the original in February, 2006, and it was a fine loaf of bread. I think that this one is even better, but then I prefer free-form to bread made in a loaf pan. Is it bliss? Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you certainly won't be unhappy biting into a piece of this bread.
The ricotta loaf is one of the few breads in The Bread Bible that Rose recommends the food processor for. This makes it extremely easy to whip up. It's also one of the few that you can make it one day, although you can also refrigerate it overnight, which I did. I used a lovely, thick Italian ricotta that I bought at Broder's Italian Deli, which made the texture almost meltingly soft.
This is what it looks like just before I went at it with the slashing knife and put it in the oven.
This recipe makes two loaves, so I was able to take one, still warm from the oven, to my dear friend and neighbor Betty, who just got home from the hospital after having hip replacement surgery and a number of misadventures that kept her in the hospital for longer than expected.
(Jim was experimenting with the morning light coming through our kitchen window).
I decided that this bread, with its soft texture and slightly sweet taste, would be better with cappuccino than with wine, so I picked up some strawberry and brandied apricot preserves, and Jim made some cappuccino. We had just seen a $4,000 machine at a kitchen store, so our little $30 machine looked kind of sad, but it makes a decent cup of coffee, and the bread was perfect.
I know there should be a picture of the bread spread with the preserves, but we were too greedy to stop to take pictures.