Durum Ricotta Sourdough
One of my favorite wheat to use is Durum which I usually mill myself but since I was out of Durum berries I used some packaged Italian flour my wife had purchased for my pizza making, Semola Rimacinata Durum which is a very fine milled flour.
I did mill some Yecoar Rojo whole wheat from Barton Springs Mill and sifted twice to produce a high extraction flour. I added some freshly made ricotta cheese I bought at a Italian specialty market which produces a nice soft crumb. This type of bread cries out to be topped with some sesame seeds which always adds a wonderful finishing touch.
The dough was nice and silky and easy to work with but I probably could have upped the hydration a bit to get a more open crumb. All and all it was a tasty bread perfect for grilling brushed with some olive oil and some nice cheese on top.
Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. I used bottled cherry juice but you could easily substitute it for water. Let it sit at room temperature for around 6-7 hours or until the starter has almost doubled. I used my proofer set at 76 degrees so it took around 5 hours for me. Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flour and liquids (leave about 50 -70 grams to add after the first mix), together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute. Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes. After 30 minutes or so add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), ricotta cheese and remaining water as needed and mix on low for 5 minutes. Note: If you are using the Ankarsrum mixer like I do, add your water to the bowl first then add in the starter and flours. After your autolyse add in the salt, ricotta and remaining water and mix on low to medium low for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds. Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold. Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold. After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.
When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours or if using a proofer set at 80 degrees for one hour. Remove the dough and shape as desired and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap Sprayed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. (I use my proofer set at 80 F and it takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours).
Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam. I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf. I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.
After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for around 35 minutes or until the breads are nice and brown and have an internal temperature around 200-210 F.
Take the bread(s) out of the oven when done and let them cool on a bakers rack for as long as you can resist.