On my last post, I explained how to make homemade goat cheese. Well, alot of time has passed since then (sorry about that), and I've progressed to making mozzarella and ricotta, too. However, with all that cheese-making, I was getting a ton of whey (the liquid that's left behind). Curious me...I FINALLY went looking to see what could be done with it, and ran across a recipe that is SOOO easy, it's a wonder everyone doesn't already have it.
Apparently, Italian women have known about this for a LONG time (and considering that both mozzarella and ricotta cheeses come from there, that shouldn't surprise me). They make bread...simple, old-fashioned Italian bread...from the whey!! The flavor it gives to the bread is AMAZING!!! Now, I know that not all of you have whey around, but that's ok. I have piddled with this recipe for the last 3 weeks, and have come up with a way to get the same taste without it!!
For the recipe, I will write out both ways...traditional, using whey, and simplified, using 2% milk. That way, you have a choice, but either way you go, you will LOVE THIS BREAD!!
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water and 3/4 cups whey, heated to 115 degrees OR
1 3/4 cups milk, heated to 115 degrees
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
In a kitchen stand mixer (you can do this by hand, but will take longer), place the flour and salt. In a small saucepot, heat the liquid of your choice to the temp specified (this helps activate the yeast). Dissolve the sugar into the liquid, then add the yeast, mixing thoroughly. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the liquid yeast mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture, and, using the dough hook, knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes on low speed (if kneading by hand, this will take about 10 minutes). Remove the dough to a space dusted with additional flour, divide in half, and roll each half out to a rough rectangle. Roll the dough up starting at the shorter ends. Pinch the seam together, and tuck and pinch the ends to make a nice loaf form. Place the loaves on a baking sheet that's been sprinkled with cornmeal (keeps it from sticking). Make 3 shallow cuts diagonally across the surface, then cover and allow to rise for 1 hour. That's right...ONE rise time!!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the dough is nicely risen, bake for about 30 minutes (keep an eye on it...some ovens run hotter than others, and you don't want it to burn). Remove when the crust is a golden brown.
That is IT, folks...no fuss, no muss. And I can honestly say...this bread will NOT last long!! We usually kill off half a loaf within 10 minutes of it leaving the oven!! I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do here...ENJOY!!!