Breadmaking is an art and I am no artist. But allow me to talk about identity. Have you ever felt that someone else is living “your” life? Years ago, I came across a blog and felt that the woman behind it was living the life I was meant to live. She and her husband ran a small artisan bakery. They lived in nature. He worked wood. You get the picture.
I can’t recall exactly when my fantasy of being an artisan baker started. But I remember finding comfort in dreaming about it sporadically when the succession of office jobs did not fulfill me. Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to work with your hands everyday, I thought?
The irony is that I don’t eat much bread. You can laugh. During a brief period of unemployment in 2010, I volunteered at St. John’s Bakery
in Toronto. While I loved the experience, it was a real eye-opener about how much hard work goes into artisan baking. Gratifying, yes, but wholly exhausting!
So perhaps I was wrong and no one else is living “my” life. Perhaps this dream is better kept as a fantasy and I am meant to channel my energy into this blog. What do you think?
This cottage cheese & herb loaf is absolutely delicious and flavourful. It is deceivingly light considering it’s made with 100% whole grain flour. Enjoy.
For more wholesome baked goods, click here.
Whole-Wheat Cottage Cheese & Herb Loaf
- 2 ½ cups whole-wheat bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tbsp olive oil + a bit more for brushing the loaf
- ¼ cup onion, minced
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- ½ cup parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 egg, beaten
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the warm water. Stir and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the whole-wheat flour with the salt and set aside.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cottage cheese, parsley and dill. Stir to warm up slightly.
Pour cottage cheese mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the egg and honey and mix well. You are now ready to form the dough.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast and cottage cheese mixtures. With a wooden spoon, stir from the middle outward to form a dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface.
Knead the dough for a good 10-15 minutes, until it is soft, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. If you are a beginner and/or slow at kneading, knead for longer.
Kneading well will produce a lighter loaf, so this step is very important (even more so when using whole grain flours, otherwise you may end up with a brick). For general instructions on how to knead, watch this video.
Shape the dough into a round loaf and place in a large bowl. For general instructions on how to shape a loaf, watch this video. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes in a warm place, away from any drafts.
You’ve made it this far – good job! Treat yourself with a coffee break, or, if you’re like me, clean up the mess in the kitchen while you wait for the dough to rise.
Check the dough after 45 minutes. It should have roughly doubled in size. Gently deflate the dough, starting from the middle and working your way outward. Shape into a round loaf again, and place back into the bowl. Cover and let rise again for 25 minutes.
Check the dough after 25 minutes. Again, it should have roughly doubled in size. Deflate one more time and shape into a smooth round.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the loaf in a lightly greased round baking dish, and let it rise one last time for 15 minutes.
Brush the top of the loaf with olive oil. With a sharp knife, score the loaf as you wish (some ideas here).
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. A good way to know if the bread is ready is to tap underneath. It should sound hollow.
Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy toasted with a little butter. Yum!
Recipe adapted from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book and Martha Rose Shulman.
This post was submitted to Yeastspotting.