Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cottage Cheese Dill Bread

The first bread I ever baked was Dilly Casserole Bread, the winner of the 1960 Pillsbury Bake-Off. (This was back in the day, when contestants actually baked things from scratch instead of using cake mixes).

And when my daughter asked me for an easy bread recipe, I found the Dilly Bread recipe for her, because I knew she'd want something 1) with an interesting flavor and 2) that was dead easy to make. So naturally when I saw this slightly more sophisticated (that is, with 8 times as much butter) version of the original recipe, I wanted to try it.

Still dead easy. In fact, if you use instant yeast (a better invention than sliced bread), it's even easier because you can eliminate the process of proofing the yeast in liquid and can just dump everything in one bowl.

My current recipe, taken from Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland, by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson, uses fresh dill (although you could also use dill seed). The fresh dill gives the bread a cleaner, livelier flavor than the dill seed. Even using 1/4 cup of fresh dill, I could see only traces when I sliced into the bread, but the taste was distinctly there.

The dough takes only about an hour and a half to rise; then it's flattened out, where it rests under a towel for about 20 minutes.

And shaped into a loaf. Maybe if I bake bread for another 20 or 30 years, I'll finally get the knack of making them level. I certainly won't be entering any listing loaves in the State Fair.

Jim asks me why I always want perfection. In turn, I ask him why he doesn't. It's just how marriages work.

I liked the dill taste, although it does limit the number of things this bread is appropriate for. (Breakfast toast with strawberry jam? Maybe not.) We ate it fresh from the oven with slices of cheese and sweet cherries for a mid-afternoon snack. I think it would be a dynamite base for egg-salad sandwiches, and would be good, if unusual, if shaped into dinner rolls. If you don't like dill, of course, you'll just want to move on to the next recipe.

Cottage Cheese Dill Bread
adapted from Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland,
by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson

1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup (30 g.) warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (225 grams) small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking sodea
1 egg
3 cups (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook. Knead for about 8 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.

Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover loosely with a towel. Let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Put the dough on the counter. Stretch into a rectangle and give two business-letter turns. Let rest for 10 minutes. Shape and place into a lightly greased 8- or 9-inch loaf pan, and let rise for another 30 minutes. Put the bread in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes. Take the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.


Stephanie said...

I think the joy of cooking has a dill bread recipe. I skipped over it thinking it would be weird but yours looks lovely

breadbasketcase said...

Not weird at all--maybe it will enjoy a renaissance.

Stripeyspots said...

I don't think bread is supposed to be level. There is a rectangular lidded bread tin that people use to get a flat top but I have never, ever seen bread from a real bakery have a flat top. Your bread is beautiful and just the way it's supposed to be!

breadbasketcase said...

I do have a Pullman loaf pan (with the lid), but haven't used it for a long while--maybe it's time to bring it out again. I wasn't aiming for flat exactly, just something without a bulge on one side. But thank you!

evil cake lady said...

I agree with Stripeyspots. Perfectly shaped loaves lead me to think "factory made" while slightly off-kilter loaves say "artisanal." You are more fancy than you think!

And yeah, regarding your comment over at my place, pretty much all cakes are good for breakfast :)

HanaĆ¢ said...

I knew I shouldn't have stopped by. Now I want to make this bread! I just love the crumb. Here's a really dumb question: could you sub a different herb for the dill, like say, rosemary, or oregano, and maybe a little garlic? Don't get me wrong, I like dill, but like you said, it has limited pairing.

breadbasketcase said...

I can't be less fancy than I think.
Re cake for breakfast: that's kind of what I thought.

I think rosemary or oregano would be too strong, but I would guess that parsley, chives, or cilantro would work well. Or fennel seeds might work if you wanted to use seeds instead of fresh herbs.

faithy said...

Looks delicious and i bet it smells lovely of the herbs too!

Russell at Chasing Delicious said...

Yum! I love dill. This recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Nana said...

I just made this bread this afternoon. I left out the dill. Made it in a 9X5 pan & the top turned out kinda flat. Next time I'll try the 8X5 pan. The bread was very good.

Robin said...

I just made it and half the loaf was gone before it fully cooled! My granddaughter loves strong flavors and she ate half a slice herself. She is just over a year but with very discerning tastes! I added a couple Tblsp dried onion.

Wade MacMorrighan said...

I plan on making this bread this week with fresh dill from my garden; however, I'm not clear about how much fresh dill leaf is required due to the decimal point... Is it: 1/4 of a cup, or nearly 1 and a 1/2 cups of dill?

breadbasketcase said...

It's a quarter of a cup--I just changed the recipe.