A dill bread to really shout about

Lately, on my days off all I want to do is sit at the poolside (where I close my eyes and imagine the ocean).  Summer is a Chicago resident's opportunity to do things you can't do for the other nine months of the year.  This means you live outside and swim and cookout and eat fresh.  We have such extreme seasons, we must stand together and make the most of this, the hottest summer of all time!  This is what I imagine the midwest battle-cry to be.

I spent my day off this week tending the garden.  It was in need of some focused care and determined weed-pulling.  It looks lovely now, if a little overgrown and unorganized.  My dill plant was beginning to flower, and I just couldn't keep up with it's skinny little shoots growing higher and higher.  I kept imagining the dill we saw while camping, which was taller than me.  Anxious to use up my dill and work with yeast again, I sought out a lovely little dill yeast bread recipe in my Simply in Season cookbook.  For whatever reason, my expectations for this bread were low, and I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I decided to take advantage of the humid heat outside.  Shrouded in white, the yeast worked its magic on our back porch, just steps from where the dill grew.  I love this proximity.  

I think this is closer to how things were created to be, how God intended them.  I imagine Adam and Eve enjoying a salad straight from Eden.  I love the idea of cultivating and eating a thing so close to its origins.  My sister and her husband just returned from Italy, where they had wine made from grapes that were grown on the hillside out their window. The essence of eating local.

The recipe calls for minced onion, I used a shallot because that's what I had and it was delicious.  It also uniquely calls for cottage cheese, a source of fat and moisture for the dough.  I think it could be made with any number of herbs.  I've got chives and rosemary ready and waiting.

I recommend a warm slice of it with a nice piece of cheese, a fresh green salad, and a glass of sauvignon blanc - my favorite summer wine.  
Well hello summer, here we are making the most of it!

Yields 1 loaf

1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1/4 c warm water
Stir together to dissolve yeast.  Set aside.

1 cup cottage cheese
In small microwavable bowl heat until warm (not hot); place in large mixing bowl.

2-4 Tb fresh dill (chopped; or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 Tb sugar
1 Tb butter melted
1 Tb onion/shallot minced
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
Add to cottage cheese and mix together.  Stir in yeast mixture.

2 1/2 - 3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup corneal
Add, using enough flour to handle easily.  Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk (here is where I set mine outside, well shrouded to protect from curious birds and squirrels - your bread will rise quickly in the heat).  Punch down and place into a well greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes (less if it's proofing in 95 degrees - mine took about 30 min). Bake in preheated oven at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.

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