I would definitely say that this Polenta Ricotta Bread recipe could very well be a beginner’s introduction into the art of bread making. Its a simple process of gathering a few staple ingredients and transforming them in a domestic kitchen that is easily attainable for any home baker.
Although I religiously make pizza once a week and occasionally foccacia, I’ve never actually delved into the art of bread making. More notably, artisan bread. I love working with any type of dough and find that there’s something so comforting in using so little and so simple an ingredient such as flour mixed with liquids that I’m immediately transported into my zen moment.
I turned to my new cookbook, Simply Bread from The Australian Women’s Weekly for inspiration and came across these Polenta Ricotta Loaves. It sounded like perfect usage for that lonely tub of ricotta sitting in my fridge. A constant reminder that I bought way too much ricotta for my Easter baking marathon! Not to mention what great mileage my large bag of polenta received from making a few batches of my Lemon Cornmeal S Cookies and now these beautiful loaves of bread.
The dough comes together effortlessly using a stand mixer and requires a gentle kneading before both the first rise and second rise with very minimal hands on time.
You’ll find the ricotta adds a certain lightness of flavor to the bread and the polenta lends a pleasant gritty texture which in turn tinges the dough to a lovely golden hue.
Just before baking, the loaves are brushed with a little bit of water and sprinkled with extra polenta for a crispy outer layer.
As with most breads these Polenta Ricotta loaves are best enjoyed the same day.
I loved these slices slathered with ricotta and a dollop of fig jam. Equally delicious is topping them with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. These toppings are a perfect compliment to the delicate tasting loaves.
You’ll want to make a double batch of these yummy loaves as I did.
Try slicing the breads, wrap well and freeze. Then enjoy at a moments notice when a craving hits!
If you make this recipe remember to tag @marisasitaliankitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation!
Polenta Ricotta Bread
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 cup polenta I used fine cornmeal
- 2/3 cup ricotta
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 8 grams dried yeast I used traditional active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water approximately
- 2 tablespoons polenta extra for sprinkling on loaves (I used fine cornmeal)
In the bowl of an electric mixer and fitted with the hook attachment, add in the flour, polenta, ricotta, salt, sugar and yeast.
With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add in 1 cup of the warm water and mix just until combined.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of water only if needed to bring the dough together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
Place the dough in a large well greased bowl, turning to grease all over..
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile line 2 baking trays with parchment paper, grease lightly and sprinkle with some of the extra cornmeal.
Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
Knead the dough until smooth and divide in half.
Shape each half into a round loaf and place each on individual prepared baking trays.
Cover each loaf with a greased plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the plastic wraps and brush the loves with a little bit of water and sprinkle with the extra cornmeal.
Bake the loaves for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown in color.
Transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool a little and enjoy while still warm.
Recipe is adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly, Simply Bread cookbook.