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Onion Dill Bread -- Scandinavian Style

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

6 cups unbleached, white AP flour; or 3 cups unbleached strong + 3 cups unbleached white flour
2 tbs instant yeast, preferably a commercial type such as SAF or Fermipan
1-1/2 tbs sugar
1 tbs table salt, or 1-1/2 tbs kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions, tops and bottoms; or 1/3 cup finely chopped garlic chives; or 1/4 cup snipped chives
1 tbs dried dill, or 1-1/2 tbs choppeed fresh, or less
16 oz small curd cottage cheese
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cup water (about), divided
1-1/2 cup unbleached AP flour for the “bench,” at least

Put the first 6 cups of flour, the yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix with a fork, add the onions and dill and mix again until evenly distributed. Add the cottage cheese, the buttermilk, and 1 cup of water. Mix together to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to just barely takes all of the of the flour.

Measure a cup of flour and set it by the board, you’re going to need most of it. If kneading by hand, generously flour your board, then dump the dough on to it. If kneading by machine switch from paddle to dough-hook. Note for machine users: Don’t plan on going anywhere, this is going to require a lot of attention.

Begin kneading the bread. As you knead, the cottage cheese will express some of its moisture and make the dough very wet and sticky – too wet and sticky to knead. Add flour as needed (pun intentional) to keep the dough workable, a little at a time. Continue kneading, adding flour as necessary, until the dough reaches the window-pane stage. Note: It will still be a comparatively damp, soft, sticky dough. Nature of the beast.

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set it in a warm place to rise. Allow the bread to double – about an hour.

Punch down, turn it out, and cut it in halves. The rise will have altered the texture favorably. That is, the dough will still be soft, but less sticky and more workable. Take each half and turn it down until barely firm. Form loaves and place in well greased loaf pans.

Allow the dough to rise and double in their loaf pans, about 45 minutes (the dough will rise faster on its second rise because the dairy products have come to room temp), then punch down. To get the bread’s texture right, and prevent “flying crust,” punch down as follows: Use the back of your hand and your knuckles to press the dough down so a valley runs down the center of the loaf; the valley doesn’t need to be too deep but should be definite.

Proof the loaves, covered, at room temperature until the dough doubles and the top rounds nicely – about 40 minutes; or proof retarded, overnight, in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the loaves for 1 hour until nicely browned. When done, they will sound hollow if thumped.

Alternatively, separate the unbaked dough into 32 balls (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2), and bake as rolls on a sheet or in tins, until brown. About 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in their loaf pans until the pans themselves are cool enough to handle without gloves. Remove the loaves form the loaf pans and allow the loaves to cool and dry on racks at least 2 hours – if the aroma doesn’t drive you insane first.

An excellent bread for most purposes -- especially good: As a partner to soup or stew; With cream cheese (and smoked fish!); Any Scandinavian style sandwich; As buttered toast; etc.; Great as rolls.
post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
Since first posting the recipe, I've baked the bread a few ore times and made some minor changes to the ingredient quantities -- which were entered with today's edit.

The recipe has had a few looks but no feedback; and that surprises me a little. This is absolutely one of the best breads I've ever made -- certainly on a par with the Pumpernickel recipe I posted in this forum. Perhaps even better. On the other hand, it may not be one of the best recipes I've ever written. All the discussion about kneading in more flour might make it seem not worth it. If so, my bad.

The kneading process does require a lot attention and on-the-go adjustment. It's also on the long side. But it's not really difficult. If the dough sticks to the board when you knead it by hand, it needs more flour kneaded in. When it gets springy -- even if it still feels wet -- try to windowpane it. If it passes the windowpane test it's kneaded, whether it's still "too wet" or not.

Machine kneading is very much the same. You have to be there, but you won't be called on to do anything extraordinary. Just sprinkle in flour, 2 tbs at a time to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl. If it's not sticking -- just hang out and watch it.

I went back and forth as to whether the extra attention means this is an intermediate baker's bread rather than a beginner's. The bread teaches "touch" rather than demanding a lot of knowledge going in, and is a very basic loaf-pan bread in every other respect. So, if you're worried about the fussy kneading process -- don't be.

Try this bread. It will make your kitchen smell better than it ever has.

Please let me know what you think,
post #3 of 5
Quick like a bunny give me some serving suggestions as nibbles (appetizer/tapas/whatever) and I promise to make it tomorrow. I have company comming from far away and they expect baked goods. No fish please, allergic.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Any meat or cheese you associate with Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, or Russia will work. Anything you'd associate with a smorgasbord. Smoked edam, gouda, cream-cheese, branschweiger, ham, roast beef, butter, hot mustard (with any meat or cheese), coppacola, mortadella, veal sausage, prosciutto, goat cheese, thin sliced English cucumbers and butter, hunter's sausage, kielbasa, any smoked sausage, anything smoked.

Hope this helps. Please let me know what you think about the bread,
post #5 of 5

You’re a life saver. We went out of town for the 4th . Yesterday I spent nine hours in the car with five kids and my husband’s driving :eek: :bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce::eek:. I came home knowing I had self invited guests coming tonight who “graciously” expect to sample my baked goods every time they come (they are baked goods people) and for the life of me I couldn’t summon the brain cells to decide what I was going to prepare:crazy:. Then I saw this post and my own taste buds got to jumping.

I’ve made dill onion bread before. In fact, it’s something I treat myself to (none for anyone else) when it’s me and only me I’m baking for. This is my new favorite version, yum-me. It is actually easier to prepare than the one I used to use and it taste far better.

Okay, I know you want feedback and I hate to sound like one of those reviewers on recipe sites that totally change the recipe but… I used scallions and fresh dill but instead of two loaves or 32 rolls I did 16 mini loaves with slashed tops and baked on two parchment lined baking sheets for a total of 40 minutes, switching top to bottom half way through the baking time. I didn’t change the ingredients, just shaping and baking. (I thumped at 30 minutes in and they didn’t sound right so I let it go another 10)

I did use the kitchen aid for kneading. My six quart is misbehaving so I used my ancient 4 qt. The dough really climbs the hook in the 4 qt, but I pretty much figured it would. I think that this could be a beginner bread as far as teaching technique and the kneading instructions were clear and not as complicated as you seemed to lament in your second post, as far as I was concerned. However, IMHO the ingredient list springs it forward into intermediate. It’s all about perception, how many beginners will trust themselves with all those ingredients? Some one with some gluten under their belt wouldn’t hesitate, but when I was starting out it took me a while to work my way up to stuff like this because I didn’t want that much money going down the tubes if I flubbed it.

As usual your instructions were clear, with explanation as to why the dough is behaving they way it is at each step. I always feel like I have learned something when I read your recipes, I don’t even have to prepare them to learn from them.

Serving: I sliced the loaves about a half inch thick and toped some with butter and cucumber with a touch of salt and fresh cracked pepper and the rest were topped with some Dijon mustard, smoked ham and smoked gouda. The guests loved it and left with three mini loaves in hand.

As far as taste and texture: just lovely. Pleased everyone in the house, including the two year old and the teenager. (The two picky eaters) I will so be making this again. My bed time snack tonight is my own mini loaf smeared with cream cheese.:lips:

Many thanks.
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