Ricotta Whey and Barley Bread

March  7, 2011
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one good-sized loaf
Author Notes

I made ricotta over the weekend and had an enormous quantity of whey left over. I used some in my latest barley and wheat flour sandwich loaf, which is now a family favorite. The result is extraordinary, so much so that it’s worth making ricotta just to have the whey for this recipe. For more ideas on how to use whey, please see my notes following this recipe's instructions. —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 43 grams warm water
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 235 grams ricotta whey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a bit more for rising and baking
  • 2 tablespoons warmed honey
  • 2 teaspoons regular molasses
  • 320 grams bread flour plus a tablespoon or two for kneading, if necessary
  • 100 grams barley flour
  • 23 grams toasted wheat germ
  • 19 grams rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Proof the yeast in the water with a pinch of sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the whey with the oil, honey, and molasses, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir well, all in the same direction, to make a thick paste.
  3. Add the proofed yeast mixture and stir well to combine. Then add all of the other ingredients, holding back a few tablespoons of the bread flour to use if necessary in kneading. Stir it as much as you can, then turn it out onto your work surface.
  4. Knead the bread for 3 or 4 minutes to combine all of the ingredients. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. Knead again for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, supple and elastic. If the dough is very sticky while kneading, add flour only a teaspoon or two at a time. You shouldn’t need more than a tablespoon of additional flour at most, but don’t worry if you do—just make sure you don’t add too much.
  6. Wash your mixing bowl and dry it, then drizzle a teaspoon or so of olive oil into the bowl, put the ball of dough on it, and flip it over to coat.
  7. Cover the bowl with a very damp tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and press it down gently into a 2-inch-thick rectangle, pushing out the trapped gasses. Fold it into thirds, then pinch the ends and the long seam, pulling the dough lengthwise to shape the loaf.
  9. Set the shaped dough in an oiled or parchment-lined loaf pan. Coat generously with olive oil and allow to rise for 30 to 40 minutes. You want it to increase in size by about two-thirds.
  10. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  11. Do not allow the dough to rise too much, or it will be too airy for use in making sandwiches. Watch it carefully, and have your oven hot so you can put the dough in as soon as it’s ready.
  12. Slash the top and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, checking after about 30 minutes and tenting lightly with foil if it seems to be darkening too quickly.
  13. Cool on a wire rack and allow it to sit for at least an hour before slicing.
  14. Enjoy!! ;o)
  15. Other ideas for using whey can be found in these FOOD52 recipes: By hardlikearmour, these Curds and Whey Biscuits with Infused Honey and Ricotta Spread ( ) and by lapadia, Infused Ricotta Whey ( and the very similar Miss Muffett's Infused Ricotta Whey ( ). There are also several threads on the Hotline on this topic.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • placidplaid
  • aussiefoodie
  • Nico-Nico
  • arielleclementine
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

15 Reviews

Sadie May 29, 2022
I loved this bread. The crumb was dense and moist, soft, but not squishy. It held up well to sandwich fillings and made great toast. The flavour was wonderful. I used whey from feta cheese which was quite salty and I think the excess salt may have slowed down the rises. The first rise was 3 1/2 hours, and the final proofing was 3 hours. Instead of one large loaf I used 2/3 of the dough for a 7 x 3-inch loaf pan, and divided the remaining dough into 2 sandwich buns. The buns baked in 20 minutes and the bread was done in 30 minutes. I didn't slash the bread, nor did I need to tent it with foil. Excellent!
placidplaid May 30, 2016
Is barley flour gluten free? Where would you get it? Any place that is not online?
aussiefoodie May 26, 2016
My whey is leftover from straining homemade yogurt to make Greek yogurt - seems like a slightly different process than ricotta whey - will this still work in the bread?
AntoniaJames May 27, 2016
Yes, it will. ;o)
aussiefoodie May 26, 2016
I don't have any barley flour - do you think I could up the rye flour?

AntoniaJames May 27, 2016
Yes; do you have any wholewheat? I'd probably use some of each. The rye should work, though it will produce a stickier dough and a denser loaf. 120 grams will give it a fairly strong rye flavor. You could also just use more bread flour. ;o)
dickensthedog February 14, 2016
It is nigh impossible to make this recipe accurately without a digital scale. My MIT engineer husband had to step in and figure out exacting weight to volume conversions of grams to fluid ounces, and even then, we only got "close" since the resulting fluid were in decimal form, so we had to round up. Here is hoping that all this effort will be worth it!

Cathy B. May 14, 2016
Next time just look for an on-line conversion tool and it should be easy to use metric.
Nico-Nico July 22, 2015
This bread is INCREDIBLE. The flavor and texture make the perfect piece of toast. AntoniaJames--do you ever make this bread without the whey, and if so, what do you use? It was fantastic with the whey, but I want this bread without having to make ricotta each week!
AntoniaJames July 22, 2015
Hi, Nico-Nico. So glad you liked it. This recipe actually evolved from my sandwich breads made with buttermilk, so you can easily substitute that. I'd increase the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon.
Thank you for your kind words. ;o)
arielleclementine June 20, 2013
I recently joined a raw milk coop and am knee-deep in whey! Thank you so much for this recipe- I made it today and it is so wonderful!
Kitchen B. May 24, 2011
So looking forward to making this. This week I'm in Cambridge (UK) and found some rennet. So I'm planning on making cheeses (ricotta and mascarpone) when I return. Plus I have barley flour - this is a must make AJ..............thank you!
SallyCan March 10, 2011
I agree, whey works wonderfully in baking and breads, especially any that might use buttermilk or sourdough...nice recipe; like the bit of rye flour + wheat germ ;)
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
Genius! It never even crossed my mind to use the whey generated from making ricotta.
AntoniaJames March 7, 2011
Well, it's not an original thought, by any means. I just tried it and was astonished by the results, so I figured I'd pass it on. Plus, the barley + rye + wheat germ + regular wheat bread flour, with the olive oil and sweeteners, makes a really tasty bread with a perfect texture for a bread of its kind . . . . . .;o)