Cottage Cheese and Dill Bread

This almost sounds like a joke.

I was in a slightly rough spot this week when I found myself with an excess of fresh dill. I honestly never thought that would be something I would say. See dill is just "fine" but it's not a fresh herb that I look to stock up on or really ever buy. In fact, I've only used it three times. When I made dilly beans. When I made leek potato soup. When I made pickles. And now this time for dill bread. If it was the summer, I would have immediately opted for some potato salad. It feels like the most obvious use of dill... bread might be the least obvious.



How did I get all the dill? For Christmas, I was gifted this Miracle Grow style mini planter. It pretty much takes care of itself in a beautiful way. You get 3 herbs off the bat: basil, dill, and parsley. When my basil refused to come to life, the company nicely sent me a new one... but according to their growing instructions, I had to cut all the herbs back down to the same level to give the basil the most amount of light possible.
When I have an ingredient that I want to either use (or get rid of), I do a search for it on Food52 and on Pinterest. There were a couple soup options available and even this tasty looking rice, olive, and dill filled tomato recipe. But, I have a little bit of a nasty chest cold and for some reason making bread seemed easier than making soup. So that's where we are.

Notes:

  • Sandwiches //While I normally believe all bread is good for toast, I don't think that is necessarily the case here. This bread is completely ideal for sandwiches, specifically like a tuna melt or maybe a turkey sandwich. It would also be nice for croutons when you've eaten enough sandwiches and need to try a salad.
  • Cottage Cheese // Yep, you are reading that correctly. I have never baked with cottage cheese before but there is a first time for everything. This bread comes out beautifully moist and maybe the cheese helps that?
  • Focaccia Topper // From the first second, I sliced into this bread I wished that I seasoned the top like a focaccia loaf. It would be phenomenal seasoned with a bit of parmesan, dill, salt, etc. So good. Next time.
  • Fresh v Dried // The recipe called for dried dill ... and I clearly had fresh. I used this conversion website to help me do the math on substitutions. Essentially its a 3:1 ratio of fresh v dried.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Place the yeast, warm water and sugar in the bowl of the mixer – stir with a small spoon, just to moisten all of the yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes – the mixture will foam up.


(Step 2) Use the paddle attachment and add the cottage cheese, onion, dill weed and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.



(Step 3) Switch to the dough hook, and mix in 3 cups of the flour, which you can add all at once, but keep the speed very slow at first – leave the mixer running about 2 minutes. Add another cup of flour, mix until completely incorporated. Repeat with a 4th cup of flour.



(Step 4) Leave the mixer running, and add additional flour, ¼ cup at a time, mixing until each addition is completely incorporated. This may take anywhere from ¼ of a cup to a whole cup. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and gathers around the hook, you are getting close. Theoretically, you could keep at this process until the dough isn't sticky and avoid all hand kneading - but after adding a cup of flour, I just pulled it out and finished the knead on the counter. The dough was VERY sticky to start but quickly became perfect. Knead for about 5 minutes and finish it into a nice dough ball.



(Step 5) Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until it is well doubled in size. Punch down, and shape into two loaves. Place in well buttered 8 x 5 inch bread pans, and re-cover with the oiled plastic wrap. Let rise again, just until centers of loaves are above the edge of the pans – this is going to rise quite a bit more in the oven, so don’t let it get too high before you bake it. Note: I went with 2 bigger loaves and 1 baby loaf (3x5 pan). The baby loaf is easier to give away.


(Step 6) Brush the tops with milk, and place in a preheated 350º oven. Bake for about 35 minutes. The top should be very well browned, and it should sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. I took my little mini loaf out at about 25 minutes.

Shopping List
2 packages dry active yeast
½ cup very warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups Cottage Cheese
2 tablespoons very finely minced onion
2 tablespoons dried dill weed (or 6 T of fresh dill)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 eggs
5 to 5 ½ cups all purpose flour.

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