Cottage cheese and dill has been a traditional combination for bread bakers over decades. If you check out any bread making cookbook you will probably find a recipe for Cottage Cheese & Dill. When I saw the version in “The Tassajara Recipe Book” I knew I had to try this bread. This recipe calls for a small amount of onion diced very small and sautéed to a nice caramelization. The aroma of the onions and dill will make your mouth water as it bakes and infuses the kitchen with a savory bread goodness. You can enjoy it as an attractive appetizer bread or a great partner to cheese, soups, and salads. I have tweaked the book’s recipe, but you will find a link for the cookbook at the bottom.
1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
3 Tablespoons honey
½ medium yellow onion – diced small
Oil for pan
5 cups bread flour – plus more for dusting and kneading
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons dry dill weed
¾ cup cottage cheese
1 ½ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon cold water
Note: You will start the yeast with a quarter cup of lukewarm water to activate it. When you add the additional water, it will be over the cool eggs and cottage cheese, so rather than lukewarm, the water should be very warm. This will warm up the wet mixture. If the wet mixture is too cool it will slow down the rising process.
First, dice onion very small and sauté in a small amount of oil until onions are nicely browned. Set aside.
Then, to a one cup container add ¼ cup of warm water. Add to it 3 Tablespoons of honey. Stir with a plastic spoon. When the temperature is lukewarm, sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir, and then place the container in a warm place. I use the interior of my microwave oven. It will take about 15 minutes for the yeast to proof.
Meanwhile, to a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt and dried dill weed. Dry whisk vigorously to combine and aerate the flour. Set aside.
Then, to the bowl of a food processor add the egg and run on low for a second to beat.
Next, add to the egg the cottage cheese and run on low for a few seconds to combine.
Now, add the warm water and run on low for a few seconds to combine. Then, add the yeast mixture and run on low for a few seconds to combine.
Now, add the flour mixture in two increments. Run each addition on low until well incorporated. The dough will still be very moist.
Transfer the dough to a flour dusted work surface and knead more flour into it until it is soft and smooth. Pat it out nice and flat, then sprinkle the caramelized onions over it. Knead again for a minute or so to insure the onions are evenly distributed through the dough. Then, form a dough ball.
Place the dough ball into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm place to rest and raise. This should take about an hour, and the dough should double in size. I usually use the interior of my microwave oven as the temperature will remain more constant.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and return to the flour dusted work surface.
Divide the dough in half and shape into a loaves.
Place dough loaves into greased or lined bread pans and allow the dough to double in size. This should take 45 – 60 minutes. Again, I use the interior of my microwave oven. The temperature remains constant and the dough is not as prone to dry out.
About 15 minutes before baking, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
When ready to bake, slit each loaf down the middle with a razor or a serrated knife. Then make an egg wash of one egg and a tablespoon of cold water by beating the mixture with a fork. Then brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash.
Now, place bread pans in oven and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, or until nicely browned and hollow sounding if rapped on the top or bottom. During the baking process tent the loaves as soon as they become golden. This will prevent the loaves from over browning. Also, after baking for 35 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees F.
When done, remove loaves and cool on a wire rack. After 5 minutes, remove the bread from the pans and continue to cool on the wire rack.
Enjoy thick cut slices warm with a bit of butter or the next day by toasting and buttering.
Link for cookbook: The Tassajara Recipe Book