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Food Processor Ricotta Bliss Bread

Jul 20, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose

the first time i saw bread being made in a food processor, in under 2 minutes, i didn’t know whether to be amazed or aghast but after speaking to fabrizio bottero of cuisinart, i learned just why it works so well. the gluten strands which develop and are then cut by the whirring blades during processing reconnect as soon as the processing stops.

this is an important lesson about bread dough. think of dividing the dough as you would about the human body as in a break vs. a sprain. a break heals, a sprain is a tear that weakens a ligament and never repairs in the same way. this means that to have a strong viable dough you can cut it with sharp shears or a knife but not pull it apart to tear it!

(Recipe on the main page)

the potential problem with the food processor, however, is that the friction produced by the blades can overheat the dough very easily and also the processor can stall if the dough is stiff or if there's a large quantity of it.

charlie vanover solved the second problem by working with cuisinart to design a machine that has a dough button that actually slows the machine preventing overheating and straining of the motor. if you are using another type of processor, it may be necessary to stop when you hear the motor straining or the dough jamming and allow it to rest for a few minutes for before continuing.

for the second problem—overheating—i have come up with the following solution: i have everything but the butter as cold as possible to prevent build up of heat in the processor. If the butter has not been softened, however, the processor is likely to stall. freezing the flour/sugar/yeast mixture for 15 minutes or as long as you want would only help but is not absolutely necessary.

one of my favorite recipes in the bread bible is for the ricotta loaf on page 285 but i'm about to provide you with a better version of it—so much better in fact that i originally called it "ricotta bliss bread." here's another lesson: bread baked free form as opposed to in a loaf pan will be more open in texture. i can just hear the gears clicking as some of you will think—but what about the no knead bread? well if a bread is that moist, and has no side walls of a pot to restrain it, it will puddle sideways and not rise as much—as many of you have experience i'm sure.

the bliss bread which makes two loaves became the ricotta loaf due to the organization of the book. the texture was not that of a rustic bread but rather that of a soft loaf so it fell into the loaf category and i was asked to tweak it into loaf shape. but just last week, i decided to make it the way it was originally intended and gasped at the incredible softness and deliciousness of flavor—so extraordinary i knew i'd have to share it with you as soon as possible. for those of you who have the first and second printing of "the bread bible," just print it out and tuck it into the book. it's the same recipe, but shaping, rising, and baking times will vary. i added it to the third printing so it will be in all subsequent printings.

By the way, note in the photos the difference in the top crust of the cut and uncut loaf. the cut loaf was one that hadn't been proofed as much during the final rise and therefore burst open a little unevenly on baking. the uncut loaf has wide openings because it was just ever so slightly underproofed--my preference--so it can have more oven spring and more attractive slashes.

Starter: None (Straight Dough Method)
Rising Time: About 3 hours plus optional overnight rise
Oven Temperature: 375°F./190°C.
Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

This recipe was adapted from one that came to me as a gift from Diego Mauricio Lopez G. of Pandora bakery in Columbia South America after the publication of The Cake Bible in 1988. As I was busy at the time, I put it aside and years passed before I came across it again and tried it.

This bread is incredibly quick and easy to mix and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a pleasure just to touch the dough which is as soft as a newborn's skin. It bakes into a pale yellow almost lacy, unfathomably soft crumb that can be sliced very thin. The flavor is ethereal, rich and deeply complex. I should never have waited so long!

Makes: Two 7 inch by 3 1/2 inch high loaves each about 1 pound/474 grams




unbleached all-purpose flour such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury

3 1/4 cups

17.5 ounces

500 grams


2 tablespoons

1 scant ounces

25 grams

instant yeast, preferably
or active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons


4.8 grams
6.2 grams

whole milk ricotta, cold

1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons

8.75 ounces

250 grams

butter, softened

7 tablespoons

3.5 ounces

100 grams

1 large egg, cold

3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon

1.7 ounces               50 grams
    (weighed without the shell)


1  1/2 teaspoons


10 grams

water, cold

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces)

4.2 ounces

118 grams

Optional:  Melted butter

1 tablespoon

0.5 ounce

14 grams

Equipment: A baking sheet lined with parchment, or sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. A baking stone or baking sheet.

If using active dry yeast proof it. To proof, dissolve it with a big pinch of the sugar in 2 tablespoons of the water warmed only to hot bath temperature, 110°F./43°C. Set it in a warm spot for 10 to 20 minutes. It should be full of bubbles. Add it when adding the ricotta.

Mix the Dough
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and instant yeast. Place it in a food processor with the dough blades. Add the ricotta, softened butter, egg, and salt and pulse about 15 times. With the motor running, add the cold water. Process 60 to 80 seconds but be careful not to allow the dough to get hot—i.e. not over 80°F/27°C. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is not soft, spray it with a little water and pulse it in. If it is sticky, transfer it to a counter and knead in a little flour at a time. After the first rise it will become firmer and difficult to shape if it is not soft. The dough will weigh about 2 pounds, 5 ounces/1048 grams.

Let the Dough Rise
Place the dough into a 4 quart or larger container, coated lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise, ideally at 75 to 80°F./24 to 27°C., for about 2 hours or until doubled Preheat the oven to 375°F./190°C. at least 30 minutes before baking time. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or heavy baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven before preheating. (You can line it with foil to prevent rusting.)

Shape the Dough
Empty the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead it lightly to deflate it. Divide it in two (if desired, one or both can be placed in a freezer weight plastic bag(s) that has been sprayed with cooking spray and refrigerated for up to two days. The dough will develop more flavor and have a more open texture. You will need to take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before shaping.)

If you are baking the same day, preshape it by pulling the edges to the top. Without flipping the dough over, use a bench scraper to move each round to a lightly floured counter. Cover them with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow them to sit for 20 minutes or until extensible (when you pull the dough gently it stretches without tearing).

Shape each piece of dough into a 4 1/2-inch by 2 3/4-inch high round. Set them at least 3-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place a large plastic box over them or cover with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk about 1 hour. They will be about 6-inches by 3 1/4-inches high. Slash the tops with a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade. (I like to make a slash in one direction and a second slash perpendicular to it.)

Mist the dough with water and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (A instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F./93°C.). Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking.

Transfer the loaves to a rack and brush with the melted butter if desired. Cool until barely warm—at least 1 hour.

Note: If you prefer to use a mixer, proceed exactly as above, but have the water at room temperature. Use the dough hook on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) and gradually add the water. When the dough is moistened, raise the speed to medium low (#3) and knead for 10 minutes.

The Rose Ratio
flour: 100%
water: 70.2% (Includes water contained in the cheese and egg white)
yeast: 0.96%
salt: 2%
Butterfat: 17.5% (Includes fat contained in the egg yolk and cheese)


Interesting someone else said to use sheep milk cheese.

I had some home made chevre (goat's milk cheese) to use, and used it instead of ricotta in this recipe. Bliss is right description. Love this bread!


Hello Rose,
if you like I've got here a nice recipe to make a ricotta cake and also a chocolate ricotta mousse...
Let me know, and I can post it to you.


manuela, it is so generous of you to add all this fascinating information about the history of ricotta bread. it is much appreciated.


Hello everybody.
I hope to don't seam too fussy, but I would like to say some informations about this bread.

The original recipe of this ricotta bread is from Sardinia, then was stolen from Romans and brought around the world.
The names of this bread in Sardinian language, that is very different from Italian are : pane e regottu or pani d'arrescottu, or cozzulas de regottu.

It dipends about the areas, but all of them means ricotta bread.

Please, note that in the original ricotta bread THERE ISN'T ANY BUTTER OR EGG AT ALL !!!
Because people in Sardinia were very poor, wouldn't wast butter or egg for the bread. In Uk, is very cold, it's more necessary add calories of egg and butter.

Also, the original recipe has ricotta ONLY from sheep.

In Sardinia long time ago, people used to prepare the framentu, a type of mix that was very important for the the bread or pasta. It has to be done the day before and then to be mixed with the bread.
There is an important story about the framentu. Long time ago people in Sardinia were very, very poor, so having the framentu to make bread was very rare, or precious. If someone gave you the framentu was a sign of big gesture of generosity to make your own bread.

Here is the original recipe of pane d'arrescottu :

Su framentu to make it the day before : flour 00 to mix with warm water and yeast. Leave it rest for 5 or 6 hours.

The day after, mix the framentu with only sheep ricotta. (not ricotta from other animals)
Create the small bread and leave them rest for 2hours.

baking for 45 min. at 175.

Hope it was usefull.
Sorry if I seam too fussy about this.
With friendly intentions.


Is it possible to make this Ricotta bread and use a starter with it? I have a lot of ricotta cheese right now, and was going to make sour dough bread in the morning... But this ricotta bread sounds good. I was going to try to just add the ricotta to my reg. recipe, but I am making 3 loaves and would hate to ruin all of them. Any ideas???


Is it possible to make this Ricotta bread and use a starter with it? I have a lot of ricotta cheese right now, and was going to make sour dough bread in the morning... But this ricotta bread sounds good. I was going to try to just add the ricotta to my reg. recipe, but I am making 3 loaves and would hate to ruin all of them. Any ideas???


BetseyD, thank you for sharing your generous details on your ricotta blis bread. Your home made ricotta must be wonderful (as I ALWAYS eat so much of it when in Italy from the neighborhood's dairy store). Perhaps you can re-write Rose's recipe for home made ricotta? That will be worth your effort.

Maybe going off a little from the subject but like to share this. I am a little concerned about the going all natural path, the organic path so hype nowadays. 25 years ago, I attended 3 years of college in the National Agriculture University in Peru. My first major was to be an agronomist. My 2 best friends from the university at that time completed the program and we keep in touch. One of our professors was speaking about the organic movement since then!

In my opinion, the organic concept is wider thinking. I love many things organic, but really, organic is not the best choice for all the choices. My friend Kathy has been pushing this subject, and we have been testing organic eggs, butter, chicken, milk, flour, steaks, and bacon. In some cases the taste/texture/wholeness is better, but in some cases it isn't. I think some (if not a lot) of the organic foods are grown and flown from so far away, also not produced/consumed frequent enough, that by the time it gets to your dinner table, it is so unfresh thus lacking of flavor and perhaps not as healthy as something not organic that has been preserved better or consumed faster.

I would go organic if I eat the food as unprocessed (or baked) as possible; and as fast and fresh as possible. THIS is when the organic smell shines. But for baking cakes and breads which recipes are long or contain a lot of other ingredients, I don't think organic shines. The same for home made unprocessed foods, or for really fresh foods, specially dairy. For example, if I have organic eggs, I prefer them eaten alone, in a carbonara pasta, or in some fresh egg recipe; maybe so in creme anglaise or some other custard based delicacy. If a use organic eggs on a chocolate cake, I see no difference when using non-organic eggs. Second example, for organic chocolate, if you will eat it alone, YES, but if bakes, NO.

In any case, I always love to share this picture when people share with me about fresh cheeses. I wish I can taste your home made ricotta! This is a fresh gorgonzola (dolce) and fresh mascarpone "layered cake" and only $3 euros in Italy (and not $30 dollars as it would cost in the USA).


P.S. Matthew has posted info on how to post pictures, or please post them on the forum (much easier). We LOVE to see your ricotta bread.



I have finished the dough part, proofing, shaping and the bread is now baking.

One loaf shaped up rather nicely, and the other looked like a melting piece of @#$% - with Cellulite!

I think that the Ricotta must have been a large part of the problem, however, my shaping technique must need some improvement as well! The only thing different that I did between the two loaves was that I sprayed a little on the "Good Loaf", where the edges were meeting, right before I started to shape it. I do this sometimes in order to get the seams of a loaf to seal a little better.

Any thoughts? Anyone?

Oh - I also have pictures, but I am not sure if I can post here.

Thanks, and take care all!



Thank you Rose!

I am still waiting on the Butter to warm up - it is at 66 degrees right now, and I will not start until it is at least 70 degrees.



not to discourage you but i've only ever used polyo whole milk ricotta. not sure if it has other things in it--maybe those stabilizers are doing something! anyway, can't wait to hear how it goes.


O.K. Guys,

Thank you all, yet again, for your kind support with my Ricotta Bliss Blues!

Here is what I have done, so far, in order to prep for my next loaf of Ricotta Bliss, which I will be assembling here, very shortly:

1.) Early this A.M. I carefully weighed out, and then placed the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of my food processor - pulsed a few times to combine - and then placed the whole thing (covered in plastic wrap) in my freezer. I actually keep my yeast frozen anyway.

Heh Heh, this was 12 hours ago! If it ain't chilled properly by now, it NEVER will be!

Oh - I also weighed out my salt and have it sitting on the counter in a pinch cup - waiting for its cue to join the other ingredients.

2.) I did leave the stupid Butter out too long, as now it is probably too warm, so, I am going to Fridge it for about 10 to 15 minutes before I start. Hopefully, this will bring it to the correct degree of "softness" for the recipe.

3.) I weighed out the water (I use Poland Springs), put it in a glass cup, covered it and placed it in the back part of my fridge - where it is coldest - at the same time I froze my flour mixture.

4.) I took Rose's advice and purchased some lovely Ricotta from my local Shaw's Supermarket. The brand looked (and tasted) really good (Cantare Whole Milk Ricotta Fresca), with no Gum, Stabilizers or anything other than what it is supposed to have, listed in the ingredients. It even came in its very own, adorable, little "Draining Basket" within the container! I have to say that even though it tasted almost identical to my Homemade Ricotta - it is somewhat moister, shall I say, in its makeup.

I did notice that Cantare uses Whey as the main ingredient, then Milk. I make my homemade Ricotta with Whole Milk, about a cup of Heavy Cream, and a few Tbsp. of White Vinegar to curdle the cooked mixture. This is convincing me to maintain the fact that, maybe, my homemade Ricotta is just too fatty for this recipe. My Ricotta is also quite a bit drier in texture. Maybe (hopefully) the store-bought stuff will make a difference? I hope so!

4.) I weighed out (as I always do - with everything!) my Ricotta EXACTLY, and then COMBINED IT with ONE lovely extra large farm fresh egg (I love the yolk color with these farm eggs!). I did this in my 4 cup glass measuring bowl, placed the lid on, and then placed the thing alongside the water - in the back of the fridge, where it has been chilling since 12 hours ago, along with everything else.

As I stated above - if the ingredients are not properly chilled by now - they NEVER will be!

O.K., slight change of plans. I actually ended up taking some FRESH Butter out of the fridge a few minutes ago, instead of chilling the stuff that I left out too long. I am going to give it, say, 15 to 20 minutes to come to room temp. I will even go so far as to take its temp with my digital probe thermometer before I use it!

I even went so far as to purchase two pounds of Organic Valley Cultured Unsalted (totally organic) Butter at my local health food store yesterday. This was, specifically, for control purposes, partly so that I could use some of it in this recipe!

I have been making my own unsalted organic cultured butter as of late (it is sooooo good!), and have had no problems in other recipes with it (I made a to-die-for Rice Pilaf with it last night!) - however - I wanted things to be as "controlled" as possible with this upcoming Ricotta Bliss Event - so I caved and got "store-bought" butter. This stuff tastes almost exactly like my own homemade butter. Go figure!

I am preparing to throw it all together here, very shortly, as soon as the stupid butter reaches about 70 degrees. I will also be checking the dough temp at various intervals, so as to make sure it is not overheating!

By the way, my kitchen is warm at around 77 to 80 degrees these late Spring days. This is the main reason (amongst others) why I am being so crazy with the chilling and freezing aspect of things.

I will post back as soon as I have any results to report. I imagine that it will be later this evening; unless I go COMPLETELY insane with this project!

Is it possible to post pictures on this Blog? If it is, then I would like to give it a try, so that you all can see (and maybe help to figure out) what the heck I am doing wrong with this recipe.

Wish me luck, guys, I am going to knead (ha ha, get it? Of course you do) it!

Thanks again!!!



i would use commercially made ricotta!


Betsey, it sounds like you are being very meticulous and careful, so you really must be frustrated things aren't turning out! I think for using the food processor, you can combat the temperature rise by freezing the flour, etc. I think the only thing that must be room temperature is the butter, but double-check the BB because it is all spelled out there. It could be that everything is getting overheated--I do check dough temperature periodically after kneading and during the rises just to make sure everything is in the optimal range (I would say 75-85). That way I can move to a warmer place if necessary, or expect a faster rise, etc.


if the bread is rising faster than the recipe says or when you see oil forming on the top.

check the temperature on the bottom of the bowl by stopping the food processor, disengage it, and see how hot it gets.


Hi Again,

I would like to thank all of you who answered my post and are trying to help me out - this is much appreciated!

Matthew, in response to your questions, I always measure by weight, unless a recipe does not give them (the weights) and I let the dough rise till it is either doubled or the maximum time instructed in the recipe. Also, I have tried the Ricotta recipe with both All Purpose and Bread Flours. The All Purpose flours that I have used were King Arthur and Hodgson Mills. The Bread flours that I have used were King Arthur and Harvest King. For this particular recipe I have never mixed two different types of flour - that would be a "final effort" type of thing to do. Lastly, I am not what you would call rough, by any means, when kneading or shaping my bread dough.

Annie, I bring the butter to room temp, but everything else (water, egg, Ricotta) is right out of the fridge. Also, because I have an older CusineArt Food Processor that overheats if it is pushed at all, I chill my workbowl, blade, flour and yeast (which I store in the freezer anyway) in the freezer for 15/20 minutes. If I choose to use my KitchenAide Mixer, then I chill that workbowl, along with the doughhook, in the freezer for the same amount of time.

Hector, your theory on too warm a kitchen is an interesting one. I don't think that this is the problem with the Ricotta Loaf as I have attempted it during the Winter months, when my overall house temp is around 65 degrees on average. I get the same results regardless of the kitchen environment. As a point of personal interest; how does one know when they are approaching the "prime rising moment" that you mentioned? Is there a way gauge this, or is it just a mixture of instinct and luck?

As far as the Basic White Loaf is concerned, I think that Hector might be on to something with his Kitchen Temp Theory. When I have made this particular bread during the chilly Winter months, I did not have nearly as much trouble with the dough "behaving". The last time I made this bread, it was somewhere in the upper Eighties, temp-wise, in my kitchen - so - this could be a completely viable reason why I am currently having trouble with the Basic White Loaf recipe.

All that aside; I am beginning to suspect that the "Ricotta Loaf Situation" might be due to the fact that I have been making my own Ricotta Cheese to use in this recipe. The Ricotta recipe that I use is from the Epicurious Website:
Fresh Homemade Ricotta Recipe at Epicurious.com
and it uses both cream and whole milk. I am beginning to think that there is simply too much fat in the Ricotta Cheese that I am using - and actually, it really is not considered (technically) Ricotta Cheese at all - it is more like a "Farmer's Cheese".

Soooooo - my very wise, and knowledgeable, Baking Buddies - do any of you have any other thoughts on this situation - or - are we just beating a dead horse (so to speak)?

By the way, Amy, where do you go to get the Bosch Universal Mixer, and more importantly, how much does one of these babies cost?

Anyway, I really want to thank you again, all of you, for your kindness and support with this rather perplexing matter!

Take care!



BetseyD, from the details you describe, I suspect an issue with too warm temperature which causes the buter fat to melt and separate from the bread. How hot is your kitchen? there is a variance on butter enriched breads that if you pass the prime rising moment then the butter starts to separate and give you lumpy surfaces. This happens often with panettone. If this is the case, shorten the rising times and you can also keep things together by timing an additional dough punch.

I have an older Kitchen Aid food processor while still made in France. The motor doesn't heat up making your doug warmer... specially bad when doing pastry. Most newer models, specially the Cuisinarts do heat up. A remedy is to pulse and stop before the motor warms.


in reading the various posts, thought I'd share that I've had kneading problems until I purchased Bosch Universal Plus. And what's beautiful about it is you mix in it, you rest the dough in it, you knead in it and you let rise till it doubles in it! Great machine. In addition, the Nutri Mill grinder is terrific and so far has held up to 11 cups of flour in 1 grinding.

I've read somewhere that when you purchase Whole Wheat flour from the store, it would have lost its nutritive value already due to the time factor. Heat and time is such a big factor that I make sure and freeze any leftover freshly grounded whole wheat flour and just take it out from the freezer the next time I am ready to bake.
I might be prejudiced, but I can really taste the difference!
Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread baked the Artisan way is way out!


I think that is a good guess Annie--the would certainly explain the poor performance of the gluten.


BetseyD, it sounds to me that it is not kneaded sufficiently. I'm with Matthew in that all my high-fat bread doughs are smooth as silk. (Too funny, Matthew, not knowing what cellulite looks like, hmmm). What you describe is what the dough looks like just after the ingredients are initially mixed together. And, another thought, are you softening the butter and is the ricotta at room temp?


Interesting problem Betsey. I have the exact opposite experience with these breads--the dough is so smooth and supple, they seem even easier to shape. The problem you describe I have only had happen when I make 100% whole wheat breads--where the strands of gluten can tear from being cut by the pieces of bran.

It sounds like the gluten is being compromised somehow--perhaps you are shaping too roughly or letting it rise too long before shaping? What kind of flour are you using? Maybe someone else will have a better idea. I also wonder if the dough might be too dry--do you work by weight?


Hi Matthew,

What I meant was that when I go to shape the loaves, I have a problem with the dough ripping/tearing on the surface, and I end up with terrible-looking loaves! I have yet to produce a shaped loaf that has a smooth, tight surface skin. They just come out looking like a doughy, lumpy MESS!

It isn't like I don't know how to proof and shape bread dough - this is one of the few recipes that I have problems with. One of the other "problem recipes" for me is the "Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf", which happens to be another high-fat dough.

I am beginning to see a pattern with the high-fat bread doughs, and me, having a big problem with shaping them. I follow the recipes to the letter, but cannot seem to shape the doughs without tearing them, and having them end up looking like a lumpy mess!

The Ricotta Loaf, in particular, as I have tried the recipe straight from the book, and from this blog. I have tried using the food processor, the mixer - and even by hand. I have tried both the free-form shaping, and then loaf pan. I use only the ingredients called for and follow the proofing/rise time instructions pretty much as instructed.

I have pretty much come to accept the fact that I Have some kind of problem, that I am not yet able to pinpoint, with handling high-fat bread doughs. If you have any pointers, at all, then I would welcome hearing them!



When you say cellulite, do you mean there are little blobs of ricotta not incorporated? Do you use a food processor to knead?



I have made this bread quite a few times now - and have used every conceivable variation that I could think of (including following the recipe to the letter) - in order to get a loaf that did not look like it had "Celliute" during the first and final proof!

I am now thinking that there might be too much fat in the dough, as I make my own Ricotta using the Epicurious recipe.

Oh well! It still tastes pretty darn good!



Hi. I made this bread yesterday and while very tasty, it barely rose. No wonder, as the dough weighs a ton. I used the mixer method. Any ideas?

BTW, I am happy I found this site because I am nearly finished making every recipe in the Bread Bible.


Hi Rose,

How was this bread made? Someone said a cloche, but admitted they were only guessing.




Thanks so much Hector - you are a wealth of bread baking knowledge!


Patrincia, the foil must have protected the cast iron pan from water, humidity, or food remains which would turn into rust. But repeated baking without stuff will de-coat!

Honestly, I no longer place a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven. My heating element is covered, so I place 2 layers of unglazed quarry tiles on it, and preheat my oven until my fire alarm goes off! The tiles are there all the time (excellent for pie crust baking, throw a pizza, etc).

I fear anything placed this close to the heating element, and cooking directly on it would burn everything, but my theory is that as long as your oven is well preheated, the surface will have the correct temperature. Most oven thermostat sensors are on the top, so the bottom is too many degrees hotter most noticeable during the preheating time. Cast iron and tiles work well to maintain the temperature even when your oven comes back on after a period of off, because these materials don’t heat up quick. A baking sheet would transfer heat too fast.

The lodge rectangular reversible grill/pancake pan I used to have at the bottom of the oven, is now on the top of the oven, un-foiled. The coating does de-coat into tiny scales when rubbed, but it hardly rusts, so this is my midpoint compromise. In fact, I’ve noticed that after the coat has scaled out, a thinner coat starts developing which in turn works well as a coat! This new coat must come from all the oily fumes that accumulate on the top of the oven. I figure this out each time I clean the top edges of my cupboards... grease goes up!

Ok, these are just my speculations, happy bread baking.


Thanks for your response Hector - I got the recipe from the top of this thread and it only stated:

"Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or heavy baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven before preheating. (You can line it with foil to prevent rusting.)"

Btw, my pan didn't rust at all. Guess it's time to start seasoning all over again, oh well!


Patrincia, I am sorry this has happened to you. There is a section on The Bread Bible that explains this inconvenience.

YES, that cast iron pan at the bottom used to fry the ice cubes or to just sit there as a heat retainer, will loose its coating and will rust. The best thing to do is get a cast iron pan just for this use.


Hey bread baking buddies - has anyone used the cast iron on the bottom of your oven technique that roses suggests when making this bread? I wrapped the bottom of my pan in foil and then just left the pan in my oven for a couple of weeks because I was making a lot of bread.

Well, I finally took the pan out of my oven and found all the dark colored "seasoning" that took me 15+ years to acheive was all bubbly looking. I put the pan in the sink to rinse it out and the black seasoning started to flake away in large sheets, revealing large portions of the bare metal on the interior cooking surface (looks almost like new). Has anyone else experienced this?


Thanks for the suggestion Silvia! I picked up TBB this morning... will be thumbing through it for most of the day :).


Rose, thanks fort he information. Yesterday I baked the Cinnnamon Bread and it was really good. Toasted and with sour cream, it made a scumptious breakfast today. Thanks to your bread, I'm putting on the weight that my doctor wanted. it's a pleasure to follow her indications, if you hace these grea bread at hand!

Patrinica, I think the basic hearth bread has a crust you'd like. It's a delicious bread. I found yesterday a slice from this bread in the bottom of my fridge and toasted it... it tasted as good as fresh and the crust was crisp but not though.

Hector, I don´t mind getting crusty bread (actually find crust delicious), but the first ricotta bread had a *very* thick, hard crust... and so did my first NKB, an electric saw would have been needed to slice it!


too much ice would only serve to cool down the oven too much. if you don't spritz the surface of the dough it may not develop as crisp a crust unless you use one of those great steam makers i wrote about on this blog that produces a huge amount of steam! i used the lid with it for my burger buns two nights ago and boy did they puff up and crisp as well. so many ways to go about bread baking--one just has to find what works best with the equipment at hand.


it looks like a giant muffin and is studded with cheddar cheese.


Stud Muffin... what a great name! Okay, I'll add them to the list - Thanks Rose!


and don't forget the stud muffin (uses the food processor to great effect)!!! i'm making the corn spoon bread tonight--goes so perfectly with baby back ribs.


Oh Matthew, I can tell you like bread! I have yet to find a decent pumpernickel since moving out of NYC, so that recipe will have to be at the top of my list! Thanks for all the great suggestions!


That is a hard question!

Chapter 4--I love all of the potato breads and the cinnamon bread. My favorite for sandwiches is the cracked wheat.

Chapter 5--Any of the fruit/nut breads (raisin pecan, fig almond, cranberry walnut), pumpernickel, basic hearth are my faves.

I also love the English and the blueberry muffins and the pizza with oven-dried tomatoes.

If you have time, always try to do the maximum flavor development where offered--it pays off. If you want something to make today, try a quick bread or something that uses the straight-dough method.


Thanks so much Matthew! What other bread recipes do you like from the BB? (not necessarily with the kind of crust I described above).


I agree that this bread is the wrong one to get the crust you are looking for--it has too much fat and is baked at too low of a temp. The bread that first comes to mind that would fit your description is the basic hearth bread. If you made the slightly sour variation, it would probably be even better for the bowls, but you will really like it as is.


Okay everyone, the family liked this bread so much, I'm inspired to check-out the library copy of the bread bible and give it a test run before I decide if bread baking is something I'd like to do more of.

Any suggestions on which recipes I should try? (I have a 5qt KitchenAid and an 11-cup food processor, but no bread machine)


ok, one more thing. I am still experimenting with the Basic Sourdough Bread, making note on how the different variables affect. Crust is so subjective and so variable.

I believe that if you want your bread to be like someone else's, then you will need to bake your bread at that someone else's premises.

Many other variables affect bread baking, like season, temperature, air, etc. Rose mention in BB that she almost 'gave up' on bread baking because the same bread would not come out the same each time!

Most 'brand name' breads are baked at one central facility and then distributed across the nation, thus you have consistency. Now, most 'freshly baked' brand name breads you now find at local supermarkets are also baked at one central facility, prebaked to almost fully baked, then frozen, and finish baking at the local facility.


Oh, thought you had made it before.

Is anyone familiar with the little individual sourdough breads that are served with soup at Panera Bread? That's the kind of crust I'd like to acheive (if not on this bread, then another).


Actually, I have never made this bread. I was just writing the general theory of bread baking. Try using only enough ice cubes that will sizzle out in 5 minutes (1 or 2 cube?)

Also, spraying during crust formation (beginning of baking) affects the crust thickness. You can try spraying at the end of baking (after the crust has formed) so the crust will become chewy soft.

And THAT is all I know.


Thanks Hector. So when you make the ricotta bliss bread, do you spray and use the ice cubes? I didn't have a spray bottle, so I added a couple of extra ice cubes and I did get a thicker crust than I though I should get... not that there's anything wrong with that.
How would I get a thinner, chewy, kind of shinier crust?


Patrincia, in general, bread baking requires vapor only during the formation of the crust and during the oven spring stage, the first 5 minutes (in as much as fogging your oven window). After that it isn’t desirable, not needed, a waste if you think of it.

Placing 4 or 5 ice cubes on a preheated cast iron skillet would sizzle out in 5 minutes. Having more ice cubes after this time usually turns into a puddle of water because the oven is no longer that hot to sizzle the ‘now water’ into vapor. This water pool will sit there for too much time, keeping your oven air unnecessarily high when you need dry air to bake and turn your dough into the beautiful golden crisp color of bread! Indeed, many recipes call for cracking the oven door towards the end of baking to keep the air dry, even the natural moisture from the bread dough needs to go away!

Spraying has the same effect as the vapor. I prefer vapor from ice cubes because you don’t need to open the oven thus loosing heat, and it is much unattended.

Of course, there are several breads that require you to follow a different vapor schedule, usually to achieve a thicker or crisper crust, or to achieve a spongy texture.

I love bread baking! It is so ultimate!


It is called gelatinization. Moisture makes the ‘skin’ of the dough wet, and the longer it is exposed to moisture, the thicker the ‘skin’ will be (you can use the example of spraying several times a stack of papers, initially only the top sheets are wet, but with more spray more sheets will be wet). As the baking ends, this wet skin sets into crust as it dries. This wet skin is like a glaze on your dough, it feels like gelatin thus the name, it has a different texture than the inside of the bread.

It is easy to prove. Keep your dutch oven lid for 10 minutes instead of 5, and you will notice a much thicker crust.

Now, I hope you agree that crusts are actually delicious to eat!


Why would an excess moisture during a long time harden the crust? I'm curious...


Interesting, so if I put too much ice in the pan at the bottom of my oven, I might get too thick a crust?

What would happen if I didn't spritz the bread surface with water?


there are only two reasons i know of for a thick crust--low temperature or too much moisture for too long a time!


Rose, the temp was the same you say in the book (I have two oven thermometers), perhaps I baked it for too long...I need a timer, too! And I'm dying to try the cottage and dill variation!

hector, I want to try soooo many things, i don´t know where to start!!!! I need more time...(and more money, I don´t want to look at my power bill this month). yes, I read about the focaccia with onions and it sounds...tempting to sat the least. I also have to try the sourdough..and of course, the triple chocolate cake...my body is asking for a lot of chocolate!


Silvia, try the Focaccia with caramelized onions. I've had some today that I've kept in the freezer, popped them in the microwave for a few seconds to steam heat, and it was delicioso!


thick crust is usually from baking at a lower a temperature.


Brian, didn´t you get a too thick crust?
Curiosly, my first loaf didn´t rise as much as the colder (I took it out of the fridge 1 hour before baking), second one. The second had deffinitedly a sharper cheese flavour than the second, but it was drier.

Rose, what causes the thick crust?


I tried this bread also over the weekend for the first time after reading all of the reviews. I also thought about using the dutch oven method and decided to bake half the dough on Sunday when I made it (on a baking sheet as in the recipe) and bake the other half on Tuesday after refrigerating it per the instructions (using the dutch oven).

Sunday's loaf was just as described. It had a wonderful taste and texture with the incredible softness described. The loaf on Tuesday didn't turn out as well, but I'm not ready to blame the dutch oven yet. I took it out of the refrigerator a little over an hour before shaping, but it never really rose. I'd say it only expanded by 1/4 to 1/3, it certainly didn't double, and I finally decided to bake it anyway after close to 2 hours (post-shaping). It had a decent spring in the dutch oven, but it was much smaller and denser than the other half on Sunday.

I'm definitely making the bread again, so I'll try the dutch oven when the dough is fresh.


Rose, actually, the flour had 11-12% protein and was bleached (all AP flour here is bleached.) Though i try to be very careful, prepare and weigh all the ingredients beforehand, I imagine somewhere I made a mistake (appart from using the dutch oven!). Yesterday´s loaf also had a thick crust and was crumbly. The flavour was different, don´t know how to explain it...more sour?
Of course i'll try it again, but first I want to try another recipe!!! Perhaps ciabatta, or the olive bread...
I also want to bake the basic hearth bread with seeds in it...Oh, Rose, this book makes me want to have more time and try all the recipes!


Hector, check out washingtonpost.com. Their food critic, Tom Sietsema, writes columns about area restaurants, and also has a weekly online chat on Wednesdays at 11:00. I don't live anywhere near there, but I love to read the transcripts of the chats. (Yes, I am weird.) Go onto the site (you'll have to register) and search under "Ask Tom" - you will get links to his past chats and columns. Maybe you can put in a question for tomorrow's chat if you are so inclined. You may get some ideas just from reading the past reviews and chats.


there are a lot of things going on here. you don't want higher than 11.7-12% protein and i think the dutch oven is not right for this bread--but you'll know for sure when you bake the rest of the dough without it. but it still sounds like you had a lovely and memory filled taste experience!
do try it again--it's really such a quick and easy bread to make.
tip: i always set out all the ingredients near the mixer or food processor so i don't forget to add anything though by now it's so routine to me that i almost don't need to. almost!


This weekend, I baked the ricotta bliss bread. Unfortunatedly, I forgot to mix in the salt, before the first rising, and had to add it after it...I think that was my mistake...the dough deflated and looked very very uneven, was difficult to shape(perhaps it was also a very little bit dry, and didn´t rise very much. I also had the idea of bake it in the dutch oven, with the lid on. The bread had a thick, crumbly crust and a tight, though delicious crumb. it was very difficult to slice, too. I still have the remaining half of the dough in the fridge, and plan to bake it tonight, without the dutch oven.
Do you think it was the dutch oven´s fault that caused the hard crumbly crust? Or perhaps, the dough was a bit too dry (it was very soft and didn´t look especially dry to my untrained eye)? Or was it becuase I used allpurpose flour, 13% protein (no idea if it's bleached or unbleached)?
Rose, this bread reminded me of my granma's "pan dulce" (sweet bread, a kind of brioche). I knew that the smell, the colour and softness of the crumb, and its taste, reminded me of something dear, comforting and delicious that I had tasted before. It's amazing, granny died when i was about 3 or 4 years old, and I had, apparently, forgotten her bread.
And perhaps you should try it with butter and guava paste...it´s absolutely delicious!


Cindy, your ricotta bread LOOKS awesome! It really makes me want to jump into my bread dough bowl and start breading away. I will need to search on how you do home made ricotta!

Matthew, I have been organizing my freezer and have these kumquat butter balls stored since April. It is just unsalted butter, chopped kumquat, and salt, originally used as spread for bread and butter. I have so many of these balls, that I will need to use them somehow. I plan to add 1 ball (they are the size of a ping pong ball) to the Basic Sourdough Bread with 50% less water, instead of salt. I think the bread will come moister if not fatter =) Of course I can use the balls for pasta, too, but I am trying to keep slim! BTW, thanks goodness to the Tilia Foodsaver, it is amazing how much you can do with it in the freezer.

Patrincia, I freeze bread all the time. In fact, I don't waste anything! I know it isn't recommended to freeze bread for several months, but I have frozen bread (and bread parts) for as long as 6 months. The huge bread party in April took me up to July to finish eating it! I wrap the bread in double layers of plastic wrap, or foil. To thaw, I take it straight from freezer to room temperature, still wrapped, and wait until it has thawed, about 2 hours for a thick slice, or overnight for an entire loaf. And yes, I usually store sliced bread, about 4 or 6 slice thick, just happends to be how much I can eat in a couple of days.

For the Basic Sourdough Bread, that I exclusively use for grilled paninis (with full % of water), I do freeze it, but then during the eating days, I always keep it in the refrigerator, wrapped; sounds like a no-no (to refrigerate bread) but for some reason the bread stores fine in the refrigerator. Perhaps because I throw it on the hot panini press straight from the refrigerator, or perhaps is because my refrigerator is at border line freezing temperature (30-32oF), or perhaps the acidity in the sourdough prevents the bread to build moisture in the crumb, or perhaps the added moisture from refrigeration is a bonus for grilled paninis which do love to start with a 'wet' bread. My 'perhaps' may also apply to the reason my sourdough bread stores frozen for so long!

FYI, I will be on Washington DC for vacation from 10/6 to 10/10. Where are the eating joints? Any blogger out there near the vicinity? I plan to carry Linzertorte with me!

Happy baking.


Rose - So glad you are back!


Thanks Matthew - I have to say this bread doesn't live long enough to worry about short term storage :).

I was wondering specifically about freezer storage. I wrapped a whole boule and tucked it into the freezer just last night, but next time I'll slice it first! Thanks so much!


sweet, patrincia!


No, the BB does not give storage times. It has been a couple of months since I made this, but I think I remember it starting to dry out by the 4th day (maybe the 3rd). It has a fairly high amount of fat, so that helps it keep, but it usually gets consumed so quickly that storage isn't an issue. Rose recommends freezing slices for longer storage.


Can someone tell me if the Bread Bible give storage times for the ricotta loaf?

My kids are in love with this bread, and my husband is pretty fond of it as well! My youngest said she woke up in the middle of the night because she smelled it baking (I guess 1am is the middle of the night to a 9 year old). Anyway, you should have seen how quickly all the kids' groggy, squinty eyes opened when they came down to breakfast then next morning!


Thank you Matthew for your encouragement.
Elicia, take your time.


Will definitely update you, Cindy! Probably trying it end Sept - am suddenly doing 2 functions this month!


You did a wonderful job. The bread looks fantastic!


Elicia, try to ensure the amount of whole milk needed for the cheese and do share with me the result. I do not know whether the Home made ricotta chees should be that soft and watery.Good luck.


Lovely Cindy! Looks like I have to try it with homemade ricotta now!


I have to say there is a great difference with this Ricotta bliss from my last experience of the ricotta loaf. Despite the wateriness of the homemade ricotta, this bread turned out flavourful and soft. Rose and buddies, thank you for bringing me back to it.Cheers!
ricotta bliss
the crumb


I tried making the ricotta cheese following the recipe from Epicurious and no.1 I am not sure about the recipe. It calls for 2 quart of whole mik and 1 cup of heavy cream ,0.5t salt and 3 T lemon juice will yield 2 cups of cheese,the ingredients are simple but how much is 1 quart? I am not sure so I googled and find 1 US quart =0.95 litre and 1 British Quart =1.3 litre. Wow. that seems quite a lot so I half the recipe, taking the reference of US quart and the result was I end up with 780gm of cheese with high water content.I drained for much more than the required time hoping to get rid of as much water as possible. I used 370 gm of this cheese(omit the water required for the bread) to make the ricotta bread and the dough is in the fridge now. I shall bake it tonight.
June , when you made your cheese with tis recipe ,did you encounter similarly , did your cheese came out thick or thin?Would it be the cheese that make your bread spread ?
I had made this bread 1 year ago using ricotta from supermarket and I found it soso. As this raved so many good remark lately , I am giving it a try again.


Can anyone tell me the store time for this bread (from the ricotta loaf recipe in the bread bible). Thanks!


Oh my is this bread ever good!!! The family just finished inhaling the first boule and I've been smacking fingers to keep them away from the second. Will make a second batch immediately.


I suspect it has to do with the shaping for the final rise. If you don't form enough surface tension on your boule by turning it on your counter, then it will spread out during the final rise. I would guess that it probably had already spread out somewhat before you baked it. It should work by increasing the tension during shaping; alternatives would be different types of restraints--a banneton for rising, or a cast iron pot or loaf pan for baking--to keep the dough from spreading out. I think they look great as they are though.


June, did you place your baking sheet on a preheated baking stone? Did you placed ice cubes on a sizzling pan at the beginning? Did you use high quality unbleached flour?

Perhaps your bread may have risen for too long during the final shaping.

In any case, your bread looks delicious, and the color is superb!


Hi Rose et al,

I used the ricotta recipe in the epicurious link provided above and made the ricotta bliss bread. My loaves were much flatter and wider than the ones pictured here (click on my name to see photos of my bread) - any idea what I might have done differently? I thought I followed the directions exactly, but it doesn't look like it! LOL. It was tasty, and my husband and I enjoyed an entire loaf before it had time to cool, but I'm just pondering about the shape.

Thanks for your feedback!


Markat, here is the link to the Epicurious ricotta recipe.




Do you mean a recipe to make ricotta cheese?


Tried to find ricotta recipe at Epicurious site. No luck. Anyone have a link to it or another tested recipe.

Txs - Markat


Thank you for this variation on the ricotta loaf from TBB. This is an incredible bread--so soft and tender, yet full of character. And the taste is unforgettable. I used thick homemade ricotta from an Italian deli instead of supermarket ricotta, and the result was, as you say, bliss.


Mmm... wonder if the Ricotta Bliss Bread works with mascarpone or cream cheese?


Margaret - there is a bread recipe in Baking with Julia that usesgrape fermentation instead of dry yeast - I wonder if it is similar to a cabbage fermentation?


Linda Licker
Linda Licker
08/ 7/2007 10:12 PM

I made this bread today, but when I was assembling the ingredients, I realized that I couldn't find the ricotta cheese that I thought I had. I used cottage cheese instead and the bread was absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for this recipe.


fine to divide the recipe in half and make one at a time--after all, it only takes seconds to mix and that way you don't have to divide the dough in half afterwards!


Rose, please remind forgetful people like me that you do indeed need a large food processor. I have the 7cup Cuisinart. I was a bit distracted or having yet another senior moment and suddenly the bowl of the processor was full to the brim - and that was just the dry ingredients. I panicked and went ahead and added the rest, and I was sure I had blown the machine up. That was when a neighbor stopped by to visit! I left the whole mess alone while we visited and ended up scraping the dough out and kneading in some flour. It is rising now and looks fine, fingers crossed, Annie


Rose, I've just received my Bread Bible!!! i'm soooo excited! it's a beautiful book, nicely illustrated (just what i needed, as I'm learning alone)and I love the big, easy to read text!


i've asked my blog master is he can subscribe you. are you sure you're putting in all the info as this is the first i've heard of it failing.
i have no experience whatsoever with cabbage fermentation--i've never even heard of it. maybe someone else on the blog will chime in.


first I am devoted to your web sight the recipes are absolutely the best I do have trouble trying to recieve your newsletter. I apply and to no avail do I receive any. a question I have is there a way to find out how to make bread using red cabbage fermation in place of yeast.


Silvia, your idea will work.

Actually, you don't want your bread exposed to the heating element directly. It is the heat surrounding your oven what your bread needs and should be around 475oF. The heating element is way hotter than that, so it will burn your bread.

After the ice evaporates, that pan/rack will work to dissipate your heating element source well. If that pan/rack can be made or cast iron, even better.


Rose, My oven doesn't have a floor, the heating element is exposed, and looks too flimsy to support a pot filled with ice (is it safe, anyway, or would the element get damaged?).

I could place the rack with the bread in the middle, and the big, dark "pan/rack" used to catch drippings in the lowest part of the oven, below the bread.

Would this idea work, or does the bread need more direct heat?

There´s been a craze lightly for "healthy, fat-free, "light" foods, and whole milk cottage is now difficult to find. I know, "light" cottage cheese is not the same, but can I use it?


Hector, I understand you concern for your pots, I have 2 cast iron skillets, one small dutch oven and a bright red enameled one (that makes me happy whenever I look at it!). What you did was really clever and funny.


Silvia, I need to share with you that part of the Airport ordeal was been rejected at the boarding gate. I put the dutch ovens in my rolling carry on. I treasure these pots so much that can't trust checking them in as luggage. For some reason the boarding gate guard asked me to weight my carry on, and it went over 25 lbs (according to his biceps because he did not have a scale). He asked me to return to the ticket counter and check them in.

At the ticket counter, I 'got smart' and removed one of the pots and placed it in my computer bag. It worked beautifully, my rolling carry on was under 25 lbs, and my laptop bag was just normal because I happen to not be carrying my laptop that day!

I could not resist to TELL the boarding gate guard to get a scale next time!


Hector, you deserve a medal!!! These dutch ovens with the bread dough inside must have been pretty heavy!!!


Hector, you deserve a medal!!! These dutch ovens with the breads inside must have been pretty heavy!!!


Rose, the "rose ratio" below is the ratio of your recipe? I am afraid I don´t understand very weel how do you shape the bread (i'm still a novice and shaping is difficult for me, because I have problems with my hands).


For many years, I've been making the loaf version of this recipe from "The Bread Bible." It is utterly sublime, almost like a pound cake. My favorite accompaniment is homemade concord grape jelly (I grow my own grapes). I like the loaf shape because it makes attractive slices, but I'll have to try the freeform version you've posted here to see which I prefer!


i couldn't decide where to place that note so i understand how it could have been missed.
just wait til you taste this bread and the texture....i'm shocked each time by just how wonderful it is. and lightly toasted the next day....


Rose, I'm sorry, after I sent the comment, I reread the recipe (slowly, this time), and noticed the final note bout the mixer. I'll try the recipe, it's such a beautiful bread!


I was bringing bread for a dinner party on a neighbor island, and they wanted me to bake it on location! So I started the dough the day before flying.


Why were you traveling with bread dough?


Oh Rose - definitely bliss indeed!


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
07/22/2007 08:31 PM

Thanks for this recipe, I love the Ricotta loaf in the Bread Bible, so this one is a great treat!

The only commercially made ricotta that I like is hard to get in summer (I'm not sure they even make it in warmer months), so I learned to make my own. It's so easy, I may never go back to the packaged stuff. To anyone out there who's never made their own, give it a try. I used a recipe I found online (epicurious) and had no trouble at all.


that's hilarious! what we don't do for our dough! did i mention that a few years ago when my dermatologist asked me to come right in the following day for a possible dx of lyme's diease i told him i couldn't bc i had pumernickel bread dough rising and he always keeps me waiting so long. he must have thought the dementia was alread setting in and countered with a 7:30 am appointment promising i'd be first and no wait. i came in--did indeed have lyme's--and got back in time to shape the dough.


I am speachless, and this great recipe, method, and photo, of a perfetly formed (and slashed) bread, is what kept me focus during my travel ordeal today. Thank for explaining the science behind the food processor on bread dough. Do I need to get one of those giants 16 or 20 cup food processors?

I got stuck for 4 hours at my local airport for just a 30-minute commute to Hilo, while having an 8x batch of Basic Sourdough Bread after its final flour addition. This was checked in as luggage. I scented the smell of rising bread dough as soon as my luggage appeared in the baggage carrousel.


Silvia--see the note at the bottom of the recipe.


Rose, is it posiible to use the mixer?
I don´t have a food processor.



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