i'm back to baking. never mind the batch of meringues i forgot in the oven before i left (shhhhhhh! bleah.) i brought back a favourite cookbook from my la collection, "the breakfast book" by marion cunningham, mainly because chika reminded me of its existence, and after flicking through it again, i realised there were quite a few recipes i was curious about. not necessarily about the taste, but from some quirky aspect or ingredient in them.
one of these recipes is a yeast bread recipe simply called dairy bread. it is basically a white bread loaf, only loaded with dairy products, including cottage cheese. the thing that piqued my interest was the addition of a scant 1/4 teaspoonful of ground ginger, which was believed to help the yeast work more effectively. hm. i can't say if it did or not--i suspect the teaspoon of sugar added to the proofing yeast had more efficacy. however, because the bread is so bland (it really tastes like baked milk--depending on your fondness for dairy products, this could be a good or bad thing), i found that tiny bit of ginger lent a peculiar bite to the crust. again, don't know if this is a good or bad thing. otherwise, the crumb was soft but springy and it makes a lovely toast.
i did have a little trouble with the directions--it says to add only enough flour to make it manageable, but later it says to knead it until it is smooth and elastic. to make it smooth and elastic, i had to add considerably more flour than it took to make it manageable (a whopping 2 cups more), but even with those two extra cups, the loaves were a little flooby. it was perhaps a mistake to read a novel with a character who laments the loss of her teenage cleavage while i was making these loaves. you only need to look at the final product to see why the only thing that came to mind was "support bra".
dairy bread (from "the breakfast book" by marion cunningham, pg. 7)
1/2 cup warm water
2 packets dry yeast
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cup milk, warmed
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
put the wam water, yeast, ginger and 1 tsp sugar in a large mixing bowl. stir and let the mixture dissolve for 5 minutes. add the milk, cottage cheese, butter, the remaining 2 tbsp sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. beat until smooth. add only enough additional flour to make the dough manageable. turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 mminutes. let the dough rest for 10 minutes, resume kneading until smooth and elastic.
place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. let the dough double in bulk, about 1 hour. punch down and divide in half. form two round loaves or place in two loaf pans, cover loosely and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour. sprinkle a little flour on top and cut a cross on the top of each loaf. place in an oven preheated to 375˚F, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden on top.