On the Side, Recipes, Small Bites

Fresh Herb Ricotta Cheese Bread

A no yeast bread that is super quick to prepare! 

Ready in less than an hour, this Herbed Ricotta Cheese Bread is sure to become a favorite!

This quick bread is loaded with fresh herbs, ricotta cheese, and a dash of smoked paprika. 

Ricotta is a fresh, soft, Italian cheese with a small curd and a light, mild, slightly sweet flavor. In the United States, it is most commonly known as an ingredient in lasagna. I honestly love ricotta even just by itself. For this recipe, I decided to use ricotta instead of heavy cream or milk, the ricotta gives the bread a light texture that practically melts in your mouth!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
  • ½ cup green onions or scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • smoked paprika

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. 

Grate butter into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the consistency of coarse meal.

Stir in scallions and fresh herbs. 

Add ricotta cheese, then add milk and stir until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Knead 2 to 3 times, then pat dough into a 9-inch rectangle. 

Transfer bread to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops liberally with egg wash. Sprinkle top with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

On the Side, Recipes

Irish Cheddar & Garlic Soda Bread

Irish soda bread flavored with cheese, garlic, and herbs is the perfect, easy bread to serve as the ultimate side dish for St. Patrick’s day!

There’s no yeast & no rising! And you still get a fluffy, flavorful loaf of bread. Just mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and bake!

It’s also very versatile and you can add pretty much anything. Different kinds of cheese, herbs, onions, garlic and even sun-dried tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients are all pantry/fridge staples.

Serve with my Slow Cooked Guinness Corned beef and Sautéed Cabbage.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •  2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the sheet where you will be placing the bread.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese and sugar, whisk together until combined.

Add to the dry mixture the cheddar, herbs, garlic and green onions, mix.

Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, mixing until combined.

Knead for 1-2 minutes, until the dough holds together. Add more liquid if dough is not forming.

Form dough into a round loaf and transfer to the floured parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Cut a cross into the top of the dough, about ½ inch deep and 2-inches long. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the cover, pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soda bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf. 

Remove from the oven and place two tablespoons of butter on the top and allow it to melt. 

Serve.

Recipes

Focaccia Bread Art

Abby and her work of art!

Have you seen the new trend in baking bread? Bakers are turning focaccia bread into beautiful works of bread art by layering on creative ingredients. Vineyard Baker on Instagram is the pro behind this new trend. Making focaccia bread art is not only fun for the whole family but it is delicious!

So since the world is in quarantine, I have been looking for fun projects to keep the kids and me busy. Abby, Brian’s daughter, loves to cook with her hands so this was the perfect fun project for us to do together.   

Start off with my easy focaccia bread recipe. Once the dough has risen, get your raw or pickled vegetables and fresh or dried herbs and get CREATIVE!

Here’s some suggestions:

  • Red onions – thinly sliced to look like flowers
  • Mini bell Peppers – sliced vertically to make big sunflowers!
  • Chives  – Make great flower stems
  • Green Onions –  Also make great flower stems or seaweed
  • Parsley – Perfect for leaves
  • Basil – Also great for leaves or seaweed
  • Cherry or regular Tomatoes – Sliced in half makes great flower centers
  • Olives – Rocks or centers of flowers
  • Carrots- make the sun or flowers
  • Capers – Also make great rocks or seed pods
  • Rosemary – Small plants
  • Thyme – Small plants
  • Green Beans- makes great grass
  • Pepperoni – can be shaped into fish or faces
  • Shredded Parmesan – Sand or dirt

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a cold medium skillet, combine olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and the black pepper. Place the skillet over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Stir a few times then let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of the infused garlic-olive oil mixture to the bowl with yeast and honey. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. When the dough comes together, transfer to a floured board and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour. 
  6. After 1 hour, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Use two tablespoons of the remaining garlic-olive oil mixture to oil a 9-inch by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. 
  8. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet then press it down into the pan. Use your fingers to create dimples in the dough then drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the garlic-olive oil mixture. Tip: Creating dimples with your fingers helps to prevent the dough from bubbling up while baking.
  9. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes until it puffs slightly.
  10. Now it is time to get creative! Grab your favorite colorful herbs, vegetables (fresh or pickled), and nuts and seeds. Decorate the dough with your ingredients, gently pressing down so they stay in place. Brush olive oil over the top.
  11. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  12. Cool baked focaccia bread on a wire rack.
Recipes

Dutch Oven Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? 

Even if you’ve never made homemade bread before, this homemade crusty bread is for you. It’s the perfect beginner recipe because it only requires 4 ingredients, there’s no kneading, and 95% of the work is hands-off. This recipe delivers delicious flavor, and a slightly crisp crust.  Not to mention the loaf is as big as your head… Brian and I had some fun taking pictures of how big it turned out. LOL

You can also add herbs and seasonings such as garlic, rosemary, dill, chopped onion, jalapeño, shredded cheese, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, etc. Get CREATIVE!

So let’s get right to it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water 105 degrees F

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. 

Optional: If you are using herbs and seasonings add them to the bowl and combine with flour mixture

Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.

Let dough sit covered at room temperature for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours (or at least 1 hour before you want to serve) preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or a baking dish) with a lid in the oven while it is preheating. 

While the oven is preheating, transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a ball, adding a few tablespoons more flour if needed. The dough should still be slightly loose. Then cover it with a floured towel while the oven is preheating.

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Remove the lid and spray the dish with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

Gently put the dough ball into the baking dish so it’s evenly distributed.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Recipes

NUTELLA SWIRLED BANANA BREAD

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread is the ultimate banana bread recipe. It is extremely easy and moist with swirls of nutella spread throughout. It’s perfect at breakfast served with your morning coffee or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

The best bananas for this recipe are ones that are over-ripe. The peels should be at least half brown and easy to remove. The insides should be squishy and browning. I find myself buying bananas and never eating all of them so this recipe is a great way to save the bananas and my wallet. 

There is no need for a mixer. You can mix everything together in one large  bowl. The first step is to mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl! I use the back of the spoon or you can use a potato masher. Then, I just throw everything else into the same bowl and mix it together. I told you it was easy!

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Grab your Nutella jar and microwave it for 10-20 seconds. Pour half of the banana batter into the loaf pan, and drizzle two spoonfuls of the warm Nutella over the banana batter. Add the rest of banana batter and repeat with the drizzle of warm Nutella. To achieve the marble look, take a knife and swirl it through the loaf pan.Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices. I like to cut mine into thick slices but that is totally up to you! 

ENJOY!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, butter, egg & vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add the flour and baking soda, mixing until all combined.
  5. Pour half the batter into your pre-lined loaf pan and smooth into the corners.
  6. Warm your Nutella in the microwave for about 10-20 second to soften it slightly. 
  7. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls over the batter in the loaf pan before adding the remaining batter on top.
  8. Drizzle the remaining Nutella to the top of your loaf before stirring the batter with a knife to create the marbled effect.
  9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden on top. 
  10. Leave to cool in the loaf pan and serve in slices.