Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ricotta and Dill Seed Bread

I have a fascination with baking and with people who do well in baking mainly because I am so bad at it. Baking truly is a science and perhaps that may be why I fail at it most of the time. I'm more of a cook that experiments with a dash of this there, with a bit of that here, but in baking you have to be precise with your measurements and follow directions and wait. There's always that waiting time that also frustrates me a little. So I leave the baking up to the experts out there however if there is one bread that I can make, and make well, it's this delicious dill seed bread.

The original recipe that I learned from my mother-in-law, Kay, is here, and I was determined to make it again today since it's been so darn cold in San Diego lately (I get baking urges when the weather turns drab in my neck of the woods). But I did not have any cottage cheese, which is what the original recipe calls for, so I used ricotta cheese instead and the bread came out slightly tangier, softer, but still absolutely delicious. The best part about this bread is that it tastes so good toasted in the morning with a slather of butter, but it's also quite good by itself. My daughter even like the bread! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

INGREDIENTS (makes 1 loaf)
  • 1 pkg. Or 2-1/2 t. Dry yeast
  • ¼ c. Warm water
  • 2 T. Sugar
  • 1 c. whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 T. Minced onion
  • 1 T. Melted or softened butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 t. Dill seed (not weed)
  • 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 c. (or slightly more) flour
In a small glass bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and add the sugar to proof.

In a separate large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, minced onion, butter, egg, salt, baking soda and dill seed; add the proofed yeast to the mixture.

Now start adding the flour one cup at a time; you should add enough flour to allow the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead for 10 minutes (I highly recomend you use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for this part).
Let dough rest in a warm, draft free area and allow the dough to double in size, about an hour.

Once the dough doubles in size, punch the dough to expel the gasses. Shape dough into a loaf and place on a greased (or spay with PAM) cookie sheet and allow to double in size again. Brush the loaf with a mixture of egg and milk, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt (optional).
Bake at 350 F. until dark golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. This will be a soft bread, that you can cut up and use as toast or as sandwich bread. It's truly quite unique and great tasting.

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