The Fresh Loaf

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Onion & ricotta sourdough

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rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Onion & ricotta sourdough

I mostly prefer straight breads, but had some ricotta that was left over and in danger of souring, so decided on a whim to add it to a bread dough I've been baking a lot lately, along with some fried onion. The result knocked my socks off!

The onion is as good as you might imagine (especially the slightly charred bits on the outside of the crust). The ricotta, while not itself evident as a distinct flavour presence, seems to enhance the texture of the crumb (soft, yet firmly structured with just the right amount of chew), as well as coaxing the sweetness out of the wheat - and this in a bread that already sings with sweet wheaten harmonies counterbalanced with rye.

The bread I'm referring to is a variation of David's lovely 'San Joaquin Sourdough'.

I like to make up a starter comprising 30% wholewheat + 70% baker's flour and have lowered the salt content, but otherwise stick to David's original formula. Hard to beat, I've found. My process is different, though. I dispense with the 21 hour retardation, instead completing the bulk proof then retarding the shaped loaf for 8 hours and baking straight out of the fridge. Works extremely well for me with my flours, current ambient temps and schedule.

I would think this would work equally well whether you use my version or David's original, but since I have only tried my version with the onion and ricotta additions, this is the one that appears here.

Formula:
100gm ripe starter @ 75% hydration (30% ww, 70% AP flour)
450gm AP flour (mine is 10-11.5% protein)
50gm whole rye flour
365gm filtered water
8gm salt
50gm ricotta
half a medium brown onion, chopped and fried until caramelised golden (would have used red onion if I'd had some)


Method (ambient temp 26C/80F):

  1. Hand-mix all ingredients except onion until it just comes together, rest 30 mins.
  2. Stretch and fold several times, strewing the dough lightly and evenly between folds with fried onion until it is incorporated in the dough. Cover with oiled plastic food-grade bag.
  3. Do one set of S&Fs every 30 minutes for 1.5 hours. Then allow bulk proof to complete (total BP was 1.5 hours in my warm conditions).
  4. Preshape, rest 10 minutes, and shape.
  5. Retard in fridge at 4C/40F for 8 hours. 
  6. Slash dough down middle (to maximise grigne where bits of onion can char - utterly delicious!), and bake straight out of fridge, as follows:


Baking

  • 12 minutes with steam, starting with maxed out pre-heated oven and turned down to 225C/435F a couple of minutes after loading.
  • Remove steam source, then bake 13 mins @ 215C/420F
  • Turn down to 200C/390F, bake another 15 mins.
  • Turn oven off and rest bread with door ajar for 5-8 minutes.

Here's some pics:


Yes, a little lavish with the butter, but the flavour of this bread was too good to clutter up with any but the simplest of toppings - and is there anything better on good bread than butter?

As with any enriched savoury bread, it was not particularly versatile, but with the right accompaniments - oh my my! eg: Thin-sliced cheese and hot English mustard just popped with the onion backdrop, sliced cold roast beef with horseradish also very yum. Two days down the track, it was superb toasted lightly, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with EVOO, and topped with sliced fresh-picked backyard tomato.

Cheers all!
Ross

 

Comments

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I added this bread to my "Breads to bake soon" folder.

Nicely done.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

If you end up trying this baby, would be great if you could post your feedback - uncluding pics, of course. Hope you find it as knock-out as I did.

Cheers!
Ross

Franko's picture
Franko

Well... Ross, a wee dab, or even a slather of butter on a lovely bread such as this isn't "lavish" at all, it's just good eating! I'd love to have a slice of it on my dinner plate right now. I bet it would make an extraordinary base for bruschetta or possibly a savoury bread pudding/ strata. Delicious post Ross!

Best Wishes and all the best for 2012

Franko 

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Just what I wanted to hear from an evidently avid fellow member of the butter appreciation society! For me, there really is nothing better on a slice of good bread.

And yeah, I have no doubt this bread would be sensational in bruschetta. That was in the pipeline, but we gutsed down the bread before we got there!

Very best to you for 2012, too - looking forward to more fabbo bread posts from you!
Ross

sam's picture
sam

Looks great.   I may have to try some onion in a bread, those crusty charred parts.  :)

Nice job. 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Those bits of onions caught in the crust are sheer delicacy!

Thanks for your comment.

Cheers!
Ross

Syd's picture
Syd

A fine looking loaf Ross. Sometimes butter, and nothing else, is best. :)

Syd

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

And ain't that the truth about butter? Oh me oh my, yes.

Cheers!
Ross

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Looks beautiful and sounds delicious, Ross!  Ricotta might have to be my next "secret ingredient".  Thanks!

Marcus

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

And yeah, do give ricotta a go. Be interested in your findings.

Cheers!
Ross

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Wow Ross, what a great looking loaf! That's starting the New Year off right. An inspired bread I'd say. Thanks for sharing.

Eric

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

More a happy accident of circumstance than inspired, I have to confess. But sometimes ya get lucky!

Such a pleasure to share here - always in the debt of the great, generous folk on TFL, like you, who have given me more than I can give back.

Cheers!
Ross

rayel's picture
rayel

Lovely, lovely, Ross. A feast for the eyes.  Ray

Mebake's picture
Mebake

You have taste, my friend. This is one lovely looking bread! thanks for sharing the recipe.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I've gotta say, the bread has more taste than me! But I'll take any compliment I can get - gratefully!

Cheers!
Ross

wally's picture
wally

A  great looking bread, and a very nice bit of creativity that went into the ingredients.  I'd never have thought to have combined ricotta and caramelized onions.  Which is why you're the one enjoying that beautiful loaf and I'm the one looking at it longingly!

Nice bake,

Larry

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Means a lot, coming from you.

Cheers!
Ross

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Looks great Ross,

We were making batch after batch of caramalised onions over Christmas, and not once did I think of throwing some in a dough ... :(

The ricotta is a nice subtle touch ... I can imagine the positive effects on the crumb. Your still using Eden Valley flours?

Cheers,
Phil 

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

And ta for your comments.

Yeah, I'm not certain of the effects of the ricotta - but it was an extraordinarily nice bread, so the combo of factors worked a treat. If you try it, or similar, would be interested in your obs.

Indeed, I'm still using Eden Valley flours. I rate them very highly. However, I also alternate with Laucke and Allied Mills 'Superb' flour. I used the 'Superb' for this one. It's without doubt the best pizza flour I've used - and by some way. I say that having been through every pizza flour available here, local and imported, as well as EV and others, alone and in combo with bona fide 'pizza flours'.

Not sure if you already know of it. If so pls excuse me for rambling on with all this info. I first noted bags of it in the background of a photo in a newspaper write-up of a local pizza chef who has supposedly won world pizza championships (which are a dime a dozen, it seems!). My subsequent investigations revealed that it is the pizza flour of choice of the commercial pizzerias in Perth. I figured that if it's good enough for them, it's worth a try for me! This has proven to be a worthy deduction.

It's not retailed as far as I know. I source it from the wholesale outlet in 12.5kg bags, which @ around $18 work out very economical considering the quality of the flour. It's been only relatively recently - last 8 months or so - that I've been also using it in bread. I've found it right up with Laucke and even EV, if not better in some breads! I know it's available in Qld, so if you haven't tried it you might like to give it a go. I reckon it's the dark horse of Aussie flours heh heh.

Cheers!
Ross