Wake up to a hot and lazy summer morning and you’re bound to think of the next bread recipe you had on your to-do list. For a change I wanted this homemade bread to be savory to go with a green salad and chicken roast I was making for brunch. The recipe, from Jennie Shapter’s Bread Machine Kitchen Handbook, is easy enough for the average bread baker and gets its wonderful texture from the addition of ricotta, a soft curd-like cheese made from whey.

Its rich yet delicate flavor makes it a key ingredient in Italian dishes like lasagna and cannelloni, and even popular desserts like cheesecake, tarts and pancakes. That gives me plenty of ideas for the leftover ricotta sitting in my fridge after I was done with my beautiful and incredibly aromatic bread knots.



4 tablespoons ricotta cheese

1 cup lukewarm water

4 cups white bread flour

3 tablespoons milk powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon fine kitchen salt

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon instant dried yeast

1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Spoon ricotta cheese into a bowl and add water. Sift the flour over until it cover the cheese and water.
  • Add milk and dried oregano. Place salt, sugar and butter in separate corners and yeast in the middle.

  • Combine everything with a dough hook or by hand until dough comes together in a soft shaggy mass.
  • Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 7 minutes till dough is smooth and elastic.

  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove in a warm area for about 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour when dough has double in volume, punch it down gently. Divide into 12 equal portions.

  • For each portion, roll it into a rope about 25cm/10″ long. Lift one end over the other to make a loop.
  • Push the end through the hole in the loop to make a neat knot. Repeat with the remaining portions.

  • Place knots onto a prepared baking tray lined with parchment and cover them with oiled cling film.
  • Leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes until doubled in volume. Preheat oven to 425 oF.

  • Mix egg yolk and water in a small bowl and brush this egg wash over rolls. Sprinkle with the pepper.
  • Bake for about 15-18 minutes until rolls are golden brown. Turn out on a wire rack to cool. Makes 12.

…smells of Ricotta & Oregano!