Ring That Bell Recipe Diary
Dill Cottage Cheese Bread
When I was a teenager or maybe younger I had a pretty good relationship with yeast and kneading dough. I made a potato bread that was, in my very humble opinion, pretty damned good.
Somewhere along the way, maybe in my late teens or early twentys, I broke up with baking. Yeast, kneading and I ceased to be friends ans we became perfect strangers. It was around this time that I started proclaiming, “I am not a baker!” I had completely disconnected from all things dough, completely forgetting about the so-called killer potato bread of my youth.
Mary’s Dill Cottage Cheese Bread was my first opportunity to become re-acquainted with yeast, kneading dough, letting it rise (twice), and going through the process of baking a real, honest-to-goodness loaf of bread. With as much confidence as I could muster I pulled out all the ingredients and set to work remembering the baking process and creating the most unusual loaf of bread I have ever tasted.
It starts with melting butter, sauting onion and dill and heating cottage cheese. Egg, sugar, baking soda and salt join the party until it is time for flour and kneading, kneading, kneading. Mary suggests ten whole minutes of kneading but I found that after just five I was bored and ready to give up. The next challenge was letting the dough rise in a warm place. If I were on Monhegan, back in the day, I would have put the greased bowl of dough on the back of the gas fridge or on the corner of the wood stove. However, here in my little electric lalaland finding a warm place for letting dough rise wasn’t all that easy.
Observations: Julia Child once said that once you can smell a dish as it cooks/bakes it is close to being done, if not completely finished. Once I smelled dill and that distinct warm bread smell I knew it was time to tap for that all-telling hollow sound. It came out perfect but I couldn’t tell you how long it was in the 375 degree oven. I just sensed it was done and it was. I learned that you don’t need to knead the dough for ten whole minutes. It came out perfect.
Taste: Even before it was completely cooled I had to cut off a slice. As steam rose from the loaf I spread a thin layer of sweet butter on an end piece. Heaven. Soft and creamy, this bread came out fantastic. The dill and onion give it a country flavor that is subtle and sublime. An hour later I had another end slice (if a round loaf of bread can have an end), this time without butter and it was equally delicious. Who knew I could knead? Who knows? I might just call myself a baker after all!