It’s a variation of a traditional Christmas bread braid, but with a more wholesome look. Most Christmas bread braids are sweet breads and have some type of religious, cultural or family history, but I’m not connected to bread braids that way. So I just take one of my favorite whole grain bread recipes and braid it. I am crazy about this dill bread recipe. It is very simple to make and contains nutritious ingredients like cottage cheese and whole wheat flour. It’s not very sweet with only a small amount of sugar for leavening. The dill and onion pair nicely with holiday turkey, ham or roast.
Yeast breads are a lot of fun to create, and make you feel like a rock star when you present a fabulous looking product that is nearly fail-proof, but looks a lot harder to make than it is. The hard thing about making bread is that you have to reserve enough time in your day for the various “rises”. Nonetheless, there is something pretty magical about setting the dough out on your counter and checking on it an hour later to see it all bubbled up and ready for a good punch down or better yet, the oven. Then while it bakes your whole house smells like a bakery and you feel far more accomplished than you propably are. I don’t make breads that often, but on those special occasions when I do, I soak up the smells, the flavors . . . bread heaven. And the fun thing is that I get to share with my neighbors who appreciate it just as much.
- Dill Bread Braid
- 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp whole dill seed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packages dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose bread flour
- Cooking Spray
- Heat cottage cheese, butter and water in a small saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Allow butter to melt then remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
- Combine one cup whole wheat flour, sugar, dill seed, salt, onion, baking soda and yeast in a large bowl of standing mixer fixed with a paddle. Add warm cottage cheese mixture to dry ingredients and beat at low speed until well blended. Add egg and beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes. Switch to dough hook and add remaining one cup of whole wheat flour and bread flour. Knead on medium speed for another 3-4 minutes and until a stiff dough forms.
- Place dough in a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray. Place in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Punch dough down and divide in half. Working with one half at a time, divide into three pieces. Roll out each piece into a 20-inch rope. Place ropes on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Braid the ropes pinching the ends to secure. Repeat with remaining dough half. Cover each braid with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray. Place in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks. Brush with butter.
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