Buttermilk Cottage Dill Bread {Recipe} {BOM}

Cottage dill bread has always been a favorite of mine, and I recently came up with a new recipe that adds buttermilk, replaces the dill seed found in many recipes with fresh dill, and adds whole wheat flour for flavor, texture, and nutrition. I made it last weekend and was really pleased with the results. It’s delicious fresh from the oven, and I think it would make great croutons for stuffing, too.

I began by heating buttermilk, cottage cheese, and butter.

Once the butter had melted, I mixed in onion, dill, and sugar.

I stirred the dry ingredients together in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer, then added the cottage cheese mixture. This makes a very slack, sticky dough. I put the dough in a well-oiled bowl to rise.

The dough more than doubled in size in an hour.

I deflated the dough, shaped it, and put it in buttered loaf pans for a final rise.

After half an hour, the loaves were ready to bake.

A little melted butter brushed on the loaves after they came out of the oven left them soft and shiny.

I let the loaves cool for a bit, then sliced into them. The crumb was soft and fragrant, and the bread was delicious, tasting of dill and onion, and with a slight tang from the buttermilk and cottage cheese. This bread will be making frequent appearances in my house from now on.

Buttermilk Cottage Dill Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

Directions

  1. Heat the buttermilk, cottage cheese, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan until butter is just melted. Stir in the dill, onion, and sugar.
  2. Stir together salt, baking soda, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and yeast in bowl of electric mixer. Add cottage cheese mixture and mix on low speed with paddle attachment to form soft dough, about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl, then switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape bowl once or twice while mixing. The dough will be very sticky.
  4. Using a flexible bench scraper, scrape the dough into a bowl greased with vegetable oil or cooking spray and turn to oil top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  5. Grease 2 loaf pans with about 1 tablespoon butter each. Deflate the dough, divide into 2 pieces, and shape loaves. Place dough in pans, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F.
  6. Bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is a deep golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Immediately after removing loaves from oven, brush tops with melted butter.
  8. Cool loaves in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Makes 2 loaves.

This recipe is the November BOM (bread-of-the-month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group.

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Chocolate Babka Loaf {ModBak}

The first of my two “official” blog posts for the Yeast-Risen Specialties section of the Modern Baker Challenge is a delicious recipe, Chocolate Babka. This bread is Eastern European in origin, most likely Russian. The dough is enriched with milk, butter, egg yolks, and sugar, and filled with bittersweet chocolate and nuts.

I began by heating the milk, then mixing in the yeast, butter, sugar, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla. I stirred in half the flour with a rubber spatula, then mixed in the rest, one-half cup at a time, with the electric mixer. After all the flour had been added, I mixed the dough for two minutes, rested it for 10 minutes, then mixed for another two minutes.

I scraped the dough, which was very slack, into a buttered bowl, then put it in the refrigerator. It was supposed to chill for an hour and a half, but I had some errands to run, so it stayed in the fridge for about three hours. I don’t think the long, cold fermentation hurt the dough, but when I scraped it out onto the bench, it was still very slack.

I sprinkled the board with flour, but should have floured it more heavily. I should also have floured the top of the dough a bit. I patted out the dough, but it was so sticky, it was hard to manage. After pressing it out into a rough rectangle, I sprinkled the dough with the bittersweet chocolate mixture (chocolate, dark cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon) and chopped nuts.

I had quite a time rolling the dough, as it wanted to stick to the mat, my hands, and itself. It wasn’t pretty, but I finally got the dough rolled into a rough loaf shape, which I cut in half, then wrestled into two loaf pans.

The loaves proofed for about two hours, until the dough crested the tops of the pans. I baked the loaves for 45 minutes at 350°.

I took the bread out of the oven, cooled it in the pan for 10 minutes, then removed the loaves and finished cooling them on their sides so the loaves wouldn’t collapse.

What this bread lacked in appearance and manageability, it more than made up for in taste. The bittersweet chocolate was delicious, and the cinnamon gave it an additional depth of flavor.

The next time I make this bread — and there will certainly be a next time — I’ll flour the board and dough more heavily to make it easier to handle. But even with the difficulties I had, this bread was definitely worth the effort.

Baking and Cooking Glossary

One of the things I like about blogging is sharing some of the things I’ve learned about cooking and baking, including terms that can sometimes be confusing. I decided to start this glossary to collect some of these words and terms. I’ll add things here as I mention them in my blog and include links to this glossary from the blog entries, and vice versa.

There are a lot of food glossaries out there, and I have no intention of trying to make this one a complete compendium of cooking or baking terms. Rather, I want to use it to collect terms that come up in my blog posts. That said, if there are cooking terms that confuse you, drop me a line. I’ll try to add a definition.

baker’s percentages (or baker’s math) — in professional and artisan bread baking, recipes are conceived in ratios whereby the total flour in the recipe, by weight, is always 100%, and the rest of the ingredients are presented in relation to the flour weight. So, for example, if you are using 1000 grams of flour, and the yeast is given as 3%, then the recipe would require 30 grams of yeast.

fiori di sicilia — literally, “flower of Sicily”, is a flavoring extract with essences of citrus and vanilla. It can be used in place of vanilla and adds a wonderfully subtle flavor to sweet doughs.

full rolling boil — often use in jam and jelly making, the term “full rolling boil” means a boil that doesn’t subside when you stir the mixture.

herringbone cut — a method for cutting a boule that results in even-sized slices. (Click on link to see a pictoral demonstration.)

hooch — the greyish, brownish liquid that forms on the top of sourdough starter when the starter needs to be fed. Hooch is a result of alcohol production in the starter fermentation process. It can be poured off or stirred back into the starter. If it is poured off, the starter may require slightly more liquid when fed.

mise en placemise en place (pronounced MEES ahn plahs), literally “put in place” but more commonly translated “everything in place”, is a French cooking term, which simply refers to assembling all of your ingredients and equipment before you begin cooking. You read through your recipe, get out all your ingredients, measure, wash, chop, toast, bring to room temperature, etc., and get all of your pots, pans, bowls, utensils, and other equipment ready.

100% hydration — this term, used with sourdough starters, refers to the amount of water in a starter in relation to the amount of flour, both measured by weight. In baker’s percentages (see entry above), the flour is always 100%, and all other ingredients are measured in reference to the flour. So 100% hydration means that the weight of the water in the starter is equal to the weight of the flour. So, for example, if you feed your starter 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water, the starter would be 100% hydration.

pain de mie — is a fancy-sounding name for an everyday sandwich bread. Literally, it translates to “bread of crumb”; but most online French-to-English translators will return “sandwich bread” or simply “bread”. Pain de mie can be made with whole grain, but it is usually just a simple, white sandwich bread, often enriched with milk, butter, and sugar. It can be baked in a loaf pan or a Pullman pan (see below).

proofing box — a proofing box (sometimes also called a “proof box”) is sealed space where a baker can control the temperature and humidity in order to proof dough under controlled conditions. Generally, the temperature of a proofing box is kept around 100 degrees F, and the humidity at about 85%. (See how I simulate a proofing box in my microwave oven.)

Pullman pan — so named because it resembles the shape of a Pullman train car, this lidded, rectangular pan bakes a perfect pain de mie loaf (see above). Pullman pans come in many sizes, but a “standard” pan is about 13x4x4 inches and holds about 3 1/2 pounds (42 ounces) of dough.

soaker— in making a soaker, course-ground grains (e.g., cracked wheat, course-ground cornmeal, oats, etc.) are soaked in a small amount of water or milk overnight. This serves to soften and activate the enzymes in the grains, which improves the flavor of bread dramatically.

tacky vs. sticky (dough) — in bread baking, the recipe will often say that the dough should be either tacky or sticky. The easiest way to test this is to press your hand onto the dough and then lift it up. If the dough pulls up with your hand and then releases (so your hand comes away clean), the dough is tacky. If you end up with dough stuck to your hand, it’s sticky.