Super Simple Yeast Bread with Basil and Ricotta Cheese

What, I ask you, smells better than bread fresh out of the oven? That warm scent that calls out to your taste buds.

St. Paddy’s Day is coming up and you need bread to celebrate along with that traditional corned beef and cabbage meal.

Yeast Bread with Basil and Ricotta Cheese sounds delicious, right? Tastes even better and it truly is super simple to mix the dough and bake it at home in 3 steps that will leave you with a couple of hours each between the steps to craft or something else.

Super Simple with Terri O

Step 1: The Dough

In a big bowl mix: 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon (or more) crushed garlic, and, dried basil. How much basil? Well, it must confess I mixed it in until it looked right… about 2 tablespoons. Now, open a packet of yeast and add it to the bowl. Stir a bit with a fork. Let the mixture sit about 10 minutes until bubbly. Next, gradually add 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour and mix thoroughly until if forms into a big ball of dough (You will have a bit of dough sticking to your hands at the end of this process but not much.) Cover your dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double.

Tip: I like to use filtered water so I know it will interact properly with the yeast.

Step 2: Kneading Your Love…

…into the dough that is! Cover your counter or table top with a piece of wax paper. Sprinkle flower onto the wax paper. Take half the dough out of the bowl, place on the wax paper and gently knead out the air bubbles with your fists. Use your hands to form the bread into a round loaf. Place on a pizza stone and let rise until double. Repeat for second half of dough.

Tip:  If you sprinkle a little water on your counter top the wax paper will stick to the counter instead of trying to curl up.

Step 3: Mmmmmm, Smells Yummy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on center rack and bake for at least 13 minutes, perhaps 2 to 4 more depending on your oven. The top will become a lovely golden brown. Use hot pads to take it out of the oven and put on a rack to cool. Butter the top if you wish.

Your bread will cut better with a serrated knife when it has cooled a bit, but I have known eager family members to sneak into into the kitchen. (Maybe those who sneak bread before dinner get to load the dish washer?)