This bread was a real frustration for me before I learned to knead it in the stand mixer. My skill set did not include kneading dough, and I was never able to make a good loaf of this bread before learning to use the dough hook on the stand mixer.
Now, this is a simple, easy-to-make recipe that results in an excellent yeast bread with a flavor that I find somewhat addicting.
(Catharine P. (Mother) Crary, 1971)
updated for stand mixer by Errol Crary, 2012
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 4 Tablespoons honey (instead of sugar)
- 2 cup cottage cheese, large curd, luke warm
- 2 Tablespoon onion, freshly grated
- 4 Tablespoon butter, melted (try 10 seconds at a time in the microwave)
- 4 Tablespoons dill seed (NOT dill weed)
- 3 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 egg
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups AP flour (I used unbleached flour)
- Two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pans
- Stand Mixer with both flat beater and dough hook
Warm the mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in the warmed mixing bowl. Add the 1 teaspoon of the honey and let stand 5 minutes.
Add the cottage cheese, 4 Tablespoons honey, onion, butter, dill seed, salt and baking soda. Attach the mixing bowl and flat beater to the stand mixer. Turn to Stir Speed, and mix 30 seconds. Add eggs and turn to Stir Speed for 15 seconds.
Exchange the flat beater for the dough hook and add 3 cups flour. After a couple rotations at Stir speed, turn to Speed 2 and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, each time starting at Stir speed and then increasing to Speed 2, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes longer.
NOTE: Dough may not form a ball on the hook; however, as long as there is contact between dough and hook, kneading will be accomplished. Do NOT add more than the maximum amount of flour specified or dry loaf will result.
Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Slash the loaves diagonally about 3 times each.
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Watch the tops, and if necessary the last 15 minutes tent with foil.
Remove from pans immediately. Cool on wire racks. Brushed the tops of each loaf with melted butter as soon as they are on the cooling racks and sprinkled with salt.
There are a couple items about the recipe that I should discuss. First, note that the recipe uses honey instead of granulated sugar. And the honey is divided; the first little bit is used to feed the yeast directly, while the sweetening of the dough uses the second larger amount.
I like the trick of starting the yeast right in the mixer bowl – saves another clean-up bowl. But, remember to warm the mixer bowl before you start so that the yeast doesn’t get a cold shock. I warm the bowl by filling it at the sink with straight hot water, and letting it sit for a couple minutes before dumping the hot water and moving ahead to start the yeast. Now don’t use too hot of water to start activation of the yeast- the recipe says warm. Warm water is body temperature- roughly the 90 – 100 degrees (a good use of the thermometer). If you must, it can be made by combining 2 parts ice water with 1 part boiling water. Warm water feels neither warm or cold when you feel it.
Now that the yeast is active, the other ingredients except the flour are mixed in. This is done with the flat, mixing beater on the stand mixer. This is exchanged for the dough hook when the flour is added.
Getting a good rise on the dough seems to be all about the temperature. I invested in an instant read thermometer that has given me great results. (I once used it to check the oven temperature and discovered the knob that sets the temperature was off by 25 degrees). It is a good tool to have in your kitchen.
And you need to find that draft-free spot where you can let the dough rise. I found mine in the laundry bay on top of the dryer. And, I have occasionally turned the dryer on for a few minutes to warm the area up. I found that I get a good rise if the temperature around the bowl of dough is in the range of 72 – 78 degrees. I let the towel covering the dough spread out to that any heat is under the towel and pushed toward the bowl, and doesn’t just escape upward.
The next place I want to suggest how-to-do is in the sentence “Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan”. There are two pieces of experience I can give you here. Second, the loaf pans can be “greased” with the modern no-stick cooking spray; it worked great for me. But first, the shaping of the loafs needs attention. If you just plunk the dough into the loaf pans, it will end up looking like a mountain; that is, the ends will not rise anywhere nearly as much as the center of the loaf. The trick is to roll the dough out into a rectangle that is as wide as the loaf pan is long, and then rolling the dough up into a cylinder that stays as long as the loaf pan. Now place the rolled up cylinder in the loaf pan with the seam down. Voila!
I think the rest of the directions are fairly clear and straight forward. After the dough rises in the loaf pans, slash the tops before putting them in the oven. Remember to use a piece of foil on top of the loaves for the last 15 minutes. And the butter and salt on the tops while they are still warm makes all the difference; you will like the taste.