I like to cook. Of late I have been on a bread making kick that started out with a pal of mine giving me a batch of sourdough starter made from wild yeast she collected. Every day, I pop the lid on a plastic container of the starter and wrinkle my nose at the fumes emanating from the frothy bubbling goop that resembles an albino version of the 1950s horror staple The Blob. I’ve taken to calling it “The Biomass.” I mix in some flour and water and seal it back up again and let it bubble contentedly for another 24 hours or until I decide to make something.
Here’s the thing.
I have the sense of humor of a 14 year-old boy in the 1970’s, which means I giggle at fart jokes and Cheech and Chong. Now I am theoretically all grown up and have lost my hair and developed a bit of a paunch and shit. And I am still just as pathetically amused at infantile silliness, save that now I have a few decades of being all frustrated at the society in which I live and have read far too many books that have tempered that gleeful “You smelt it, you DEALT IT!”
sense of humor with the dread in the pit of the stomach when I learn yet another thing is going to result in our collective demise; that makes three this week alone.
Where my sophomoric sense of humor comes into play is in that I found this great bread recipe: Onion Dill Rolls. And do you know what?
It’s DILL DOUGH!!
Calling something you are making “Dill Dough” never, I repeat NEVER stops being funny. I snagged this recipe out of The Joy of Cooking (p. 748 in the 1998 hardcover version) and adapted it to compensate for the fact I am using starter rather than commercial yeast. I’m reprinting the recipe below using commercial yeast with the assumption that if you are using sourdough starter that you have been growing yourself then you probably know what you’re doing and how to work it into this recipe.
Oh, and if you don’t have a kitchen mixer with a dough hook you’re in for a world of hurt. Yes, you can knead this by hand, but you are dealing with two extremely pungent ingredients: fresh dill and chopped onion.
These will work their way into your skin, and your hands will stink for at least a week.
This is what you’ll need to make your own, delicious dill dough:
- 1 package (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm (105° to 115°) water
- 3 cups flour
- ½ cup extremely finely chopped onion. I suppose you could grate it as well.
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill(1).
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ(2)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup large curd cottage cheese(3)
- 1 large egg
Assuming you are using commercial yeast, mix your water and yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes or so until it starts to foam. Then fire up the mixer and add the rest of the ingredients. You’re going to want to knead this for about 10 minutes by machine. If you’re kneading by hand, knead longer. The cottage cheese will disappear into the mess, and you’re aiming for a smooth and elastic consistency that will take on a slightly opaque quality when the kneading has released gluten.
(Warning: really bad jokes ahead) Once it’s kneaded, form the dill dough into a ball and then stick that dill dough into a lubed up bowl. You want your dill dough to be covered with something slippery. I will advise going with something like canola oil rather than, say, K-Y or Astro Glide.
The idea is that your dill dough is going to need to rise, and its enemy is drying out; a dried out dill dough is not a pleasant experience.
Take a look at the picture. the easiest thing is to spray some oil in a bowl, toss in your dill dough ball, and roll it around. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rise until it is at least doubled in size — about 2-4 hours. Go see a movie or something.
Okay, back? Is your dill dough nice and big? Awesome! Turn it out onto a floured surface and give it a quick knead. Then cover it and let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax a bit. Then form your dill dough into small balls, about 3-4 inches in size and place them on an oiled baking sheet. You are going to want to cover them with oiled plastic wrap (you can also spray them with some spray oil and then put on the plastic wrap) and set them aside for another 1-2 hours until they have risen again to about twice their size.
Oh, and at some point, fire up the oven to 400°.
Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and sprinkle the dill dough with some salt and/or more fresh chopped dill. Put then into the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for another 25-30 minutes.
EAT YOUR DILL DOUGH!!!!
- The recipe says you can substitute this from 1 tablespoon of dried dill or dill seeds, but if you are going to make dill dough, do it right! make you dill dough tasty as possible!
- Toasted wheat germ is the bomb for breads. Double, or even triple this. Don’t omit it, though.
- You are going to slather these with butter or dip them into gravy or something anyway. If you are that uptight about the 2 or 4 grams of fat you’re going to save by using nonfat cottage cheese, you either have health issues and shouldn’t be eating these in the first place or you’re so uptight about foods that you need to look into think about a dildo rather than dill dough. I used low fat and should have used whole fat.