Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cottage Dill Corn and Millet Sourdough Bread (100% whole grain and sugar free)

 Cottage Cheese Dill rolls are and will forever be my first love when it comes to dinner rolls and what brought me to my obsessive compulsive need to have bread in my life...and to the love and dear friendship of Tara Evil Twin. I have many things to say about her. All good.  In culinary school I also met this stuff. My sheltered life. Tarragon. Who knew? It took school for me to know what this little herb was. 

 So, don't feel oddly if you have not ever met my friend Millet. He's a cutie, but he's not very well known in America if you're not a bird lover. It's sad really. Such a lovely grain should get more attention...affection...praise...perhaps a wall sconce in it's honor? Is that too Martha Stewart? How do you make a millet wall sconce anyway? What the carp is a wall sconce?!
 I digress. So. In my garden I have a freak-fest of this crazy dill. It's taller than me. Literally over my head. It's actually getting to be kind of epic. I might start a whole Star Trek episode in it's honor...because every time my son sees it he says, "By captain Kirk's Nipple's! It's incredible!"  You all needed to know that.
 Yes...that is my neighbor's roof...and my dill.

 The last time I went to be on  Valley Dish I was so desperate  eager to share the love that I took  some to the studio.
Decidedly it was time to start drying some of the epic mount of dill weed...and start baking. So, here we go.

Cottage Dill Millet Sourdough Bread 
with Onion and Garlic
1/4 tsp yeast (optional)
1/2 cup cold water 
1 1/3cups whole wheat Prairie Gold bread flour
2/3 cup Hulled Millet  
1/2 tsp  Real Sea Salt  
Combine all ingredients in an 8 cup mixing bowl (non metal works best)...about 5 minutes. Cover and leave in a cool room until you are ready to bake the bread, 12-18 hours. If you will be leaving it for more than 18 hours, it may be stored in the fridge part of the time, or stir after 8 hours. This will keep the yeast happy, moving it to greener pastures and evaporate any alcohol produced by the fermentation process that would otherwise hurt the yeast's ability to raise the bread.
After 12-18 hours it will be really puffy and smell like a good yeasty bread dough. Remember to keep it rather cool during this overnight period.

Get out your liquid measuring cup...the one that is clear with writing on the side. You will also need a measuring spoon. The ones made with writing on them for baking, not just the flowers or whatever on your silver spoons...

To your bucket or bowl add 1 cup Luke warm water, 1 cup cottage cheese 2 T honey and 2 tsp yeast (optional). Note: if you omit the yeast, it will take the dough about 12 hours to raise.

Put that sponge you started 12-18 hours ago in the bowl.
 Wash your hands. Now don't be scared. You will have to touch the dough. Actually you will have to really get in there and mix it up with your fingers. Break it down.

This may be my favorite part.
Woosh it around (very technical term I know) until it is smooth and batter-like. Yea. Batter-like is a word.
Now get out your whole wheat bread flour I use Prairie Gold wheat from Wheat Montana. It is by far my favorite bread wheat and flour. I don't even work for them. I grind my own (Flour making day...flour power.), but you can buy it. As long as it is fresh.Here's a peek into my flour bin. We're gettin' a little low...
Don't mock me, but I am going to show how to measure flour. Someone asked me and I don't want to assume too much of anyone reading my blog. If you are seeing this for the first time, I'm glad to help. The rest of you can just sit tight and humor me. I love everyone wherever they are in the learning process here. So here's how it's done:
Lightly scoop up the flour...don't bang it or try to pack it in there.

Get a butter knife.
Set it up on it's spine so the blade is pointed up:

Hold it flush to the top of the measuring cup and push off the extra flour so it is flat:

Like this. See?

Add 3 cups whole wheat bread flour, 1 cup cornmeal,  and 1/4 cup oil (preferably expelled pressed or extra virgin) and 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup dry minced onion, 2 T minced dill, 1T minced tarragon, 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
 1 1/2 tsp fresh pressed garlic, about 1 large clove

 The dough should take only 10 minutes of efficient kneading to attain supple perfection--600 strokes by hand. Form into a ball. This makes a balloon like structure that helps hold in the fermenting gasses and helps the texture of the bread. Place in bowl smooth side up.

(From here on I'm using a few older pictures...)
Then I lightly spray the top of the dough with water. This helps it to stay moist, which ensures no lumps of crusty dough in my bread, just a nice even dough.

Keep that spray bottle around too. I use it a few times during bread making.

Get it pretty wet. Look how shiny. Oooo. I'm easily entertained.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise at room temperature (75-80 degrees) about 1 and 1/2 hours. Sometimes it takes 2 hours if the room is cold. It helps to measure the temperature of the dough if you want to be sure. This can be done with a meat thermometer. This one was right at 85 degrees internal temperature so it took almost exactly 1 and a half hours. If it is cooler it will take longer.

It has raised about 2 inches from the top of the bowl. See the tiny belly button dot where I poked it with a meat thermometer?

When you just can't resist it anymore, go ahead and giggle and poke it with your finger.

If you don't have to use much effort, it gets those creases right around your finger, and it leaves a hole when you remove your finger, then it is ready to punch in the head.

So, punch it down already. Expel as much air as possible. This moves the yeast to greener pastures, releases trapped alcohol, and evens out the dough temperature. It's not just for the fun of punching something (though it is elating to punch something sometimes).

Reform into a ball and place back into the bowl. Spray with water again and cover with plastic. Allow to raise again. This time it should take about 1 hours. Less if your house is warm.

I had to show how the gluten strands are showing here. It's really something wild to see...

Like an alien in my kitchen...that we eat. Toasted. Mmm. Alien...

Okay, so cover the ET blob with plastic. In the meantime, lightly oil 2 standard size loaf pans. I also lightly coat them with a little cornmeal. I use 8inch by 4 inch almost without exception. This size makes great shaped loaves (see:Sandwich Loaf Molding and baking for more details on this phenomenon).

Once the dough has risen to within 2 inches of the top of the bowl again, or passes the finger poke test (yea, I know, not again a technical term). The actual technical term is the "ripe test". Just poke it. It works...
Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a clean counter top that has been lightly misted with WATER.

Why did this picture just make me giggle with joy? I'm either really nuts or really love bread. Not sure which... Please look at this and find joy...
Mmm. Dough. Okay. Now get giddy crazy and divide the dough in half. It should look like this if you get on your knees and peek up over the edge of your countertop...

Now go here: Sandwhich Loaf Molding and baking . It will lead you in all things right and good with makig this bread into a sandwich loaf. Go ahead now. Don't be scared. I will still hold your hand and walk with you.

The killer delight is the millet nibbles. They just make me giddy. Oh millet. I love theeeeeeee.

Look at all that crusty delightfulness. Don't you just want to make some right now?!

There you go.


mlebagley said...

Um...can I make this non sour dough? Or is that unthinkable? I've just never made sour dough before BUT I have some millet I need to use. Kindly advise as to how you would change the recipe to make a regular dill/cottage/millett/wheat loaf...

Chef Tess said...

Yes, use 2/3 cup water and 1/4 tsp yeast in the first overnight session with the millet soak (12-18 hours) and proceed! Excellent question! Xoxo!