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
one good-sized loaf
2 1/4 teaspoons
active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
olive oil, plus a bit more for rising and baking
bread flour plus a tablespoon or two for kneading, if necessary
Proof the yeast in the water with a pinch of sugar.
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.
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.
Knead the bread for 3 or 4 minutes to combine all of the ingredients. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
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.
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.
Cover the bowl with a very damp tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
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.
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.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
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.
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.
Cool on a wire rack and allow it to sit for at least an hour before slicing.
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 (http://www.food52.com/recipes/10541_curds_whey_biscuits_with_infused_honey_ricotta_spread ) and by lapadia, Infused Ricotta Whey (http://www.food52.com/recipes/6791_infused_ricotta_whey) and the very similar Miss Muffett's Infused Ricotta Whey (http://www.food52.com/recipes/10409_miss_muffets_infused_ricotta_whey ). There are also several threads on the Hotline on this topic.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)