Back to reality I go. Tonight is the last night of the freedom of spring break. I'm pretty excited about my course schedule for next quarter, so I'm not feeling all that bitter about it; but it's hard not to whine about returning to class. I'll be taking a creative writing course, The American City in Literature, to fulfill one of my mandatory art credits and a psychology course called Language, Thought, and Action. This one I'm really excited about, since my primary academic interest is in the psychological mechanisms surrounding language comprehension and production, and how those processes influence behavior. I'm nerding out about it pretty hard.
3 3/4 c unbleached bread flour
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (don't worry about it if you don't have this, it just helps the yeast work)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
~1 c warm water
~3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 egg white, beaten
In a medium bowl combine flour, malt powder, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water, and knead until the dough is soft and silken, tacky but not sticky. Let rise in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel, for 1.5 hours.
Gently punch down the dough, then divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rod about 20 inches long, then place on an oiled baking sheet. Pinch the tops together, braid loosely, then pinch the ends together and tuck them underneath. Brush with egg white (save the remainder, you will need it again), then cover and let rise for another 1.5 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the loaf again with the remaining egg white, being very carefully not to deflate the bread. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, then bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Let cool completely before slicing and serving with your ricotta cheese:
1 c heavy cream
3 c whole milk
1 1/2 c buttermilk
Salt to taste
Combine in a saucepot and heat over medium heat, until the curd begins to come to the surface and coagulate. Turn off the heat and let cool ~20 minutes. Gently spoon curd into a fine mesh strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth, then pour the whey over. Place in the fridge for ~3 hours until the cheese is thick. Season with a sprinkle of salt.