Believe it or not, there's 1/2 cup of freshly chopped dill in this bread. It was obviously there while I was kneading the dough. However, it seems to have gone into hiding while the bread baked. Nonetheless, the bread has a wonderful onion-dill fragrance and taste. The house smelled marvelous for hours after the bread came out of the oven. Why don't they develop an aerosol room deodorant that smells like freshly baked yeast bread? By the way, that's hummus on the slice of bread. Besides the wonderful taste from the dill, this bread has a delicous, chewy crust.
The bread was baked to celebrate the 81st Weekend Herb Blogging, which is home with it's mom, Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Look how WHB has grown and grown since Kalyn started it. Amazing. Make sure you check her site for the Roundup on Monday. It will be fabulous. As mentioned, this bread is full of fresh dill, which is one of my favorite herbs. I don't have much luck growing it, unfortunately. It doesn't like the hot weather here in the Sacramento Valley, but they usually have it at the store.
Then eggs, fresh dill, cottage cheese, flour, and oil are mixed into the sponge. After the bread has been kneaded it goes into a bowl to rise. Then, my favorite moment arrives--punching it down. The sound and smell as your fist plunges into the dough, and a puff of yeasty air rushes out? Fabulous. By the way, notice the dill. The nice green color disappears as you bake it.
Cottage Cheese-Dill Bread
(Adapted from The Green's Cookbook, by Deborah Madison)
3-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1-3/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons honey or sugar
6 to 7-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon salt
1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon milk, beaten for egg wash
Put the warm water in a large bowl and dissolve the yeast. Stir in the honey or sugar and about 2-1/2 cups flour. Beat vigorously until it forms a thick batter, then set aside in a warm place for about 45 minutes until it doubles.
As the dough rises, cook the onion in 1 Tablespoon of the oil, until soft. Set aside to cool. When the dough has doubled, add the onion, dill, eggs, salt, and the remaining 3 Tablespoons of oil and stir until combined. Then add 3 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time until it has all been combined.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, adding flour if needed. You can put it in a mix-master, too. The dough is very soft, so add enough flour just until it no longer feels sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl with a few Tablespoons of olive oil in it. Turn the oiled side of the bread up in the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a cloth, and let rise in a warm place. After it has doubled, punch the dough down and let it rise again. After it doubles a second time, cut the dough in half and shape into loaves and place in oiled bread pans. Let rise for about 20 minutes until the bread has risen to the top of the pans. Bake in an oven set at 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pans and let cool before slicing.