Because it’s impossible to have just one bulochki, we reimagined the original recipe as an oversize sweet roll baked in cast iron and topped with a generous drizzle of meringue in this Russian Ricotta Bread. With ricotta added to the dough, this giant roll boasts an extra-tender crumb that makes a delicious contrast to the crunchy meringue swirl.
Russian Ricotta Bread
Makes 1 (10-inch) loaf
- ½ cup (120 grams) whole buttermilk
- ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
- 4¼ cups (531 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- 1⅓ cups (300 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), divided
- 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
- Meringue (recipe follows)
- In a small saucepan, heat buttermilk and butter over medium-low heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Remove from heat; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together 2 cups (250 grams) flour, sugar, salt, and yeast by hand. Add buttermilk mixture; beat at low speed until combined. Add ricotta, beating until combined. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and egg yolk, beating until combined. Add remaining 2¼ cups (281 grams) flour, and beat until a soft dough forms, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides and bottom of bowl, about 12 minutes.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. To test if dough is ready, make a dent in dough about 1 inch deep. If dough springs back fully, it is not ready. If dent remains and springs back only a little bit, dough is properly proofed.
- Grease a 10-inch enamel-coated cast-iron skillet with oil.
- Punch down dough well. Let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a 12-inch log. Roll dough to 40 inches long with slightly tapered ends. Roll dough into a spiral, tucking ends under. (It’s OK if the spiral isn’t super tight. The shape turns out better when it is kept flat instead of building it up.) Use hands to lift and place in prepared skillet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush dough with egg wash. Pipe Meringue into grooves of spiral. (Not all Meringue will be used. It is OK to have about ¼ cup left after piping.)
- Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 50 to 55 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 1 large egg white (30 grams), room temperature
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- In a medium bowl, place egg white. Using a hand mixer at medium speed, gradually add sugar, beating until glossy and thick and ribbons form. Use immediately.